Del Kathryn Barton: One Of Australia’s Most Acclaimed Artists Working Today


Del Kathryn Barton is an Australian artist who began drawing at a very young age. She is best known for her whimsical symbolism of people and animals. Her psychedelic fantasy works are created using sequins, markers, gouache, and glitter. Barton said that the work does mean everything to her and it is like a life source. 

Del Kathryn Barton

Born on December 11, 1972 in Sydney, Australia, she studied at the College of Fine Arts at the University of New South Wales in Sydney and acquired her BFA in 1993. In 2008, the artist won the prestigious Archibald Prize for her portraiture by the Art Gallery of New South Wales. It was a self portrait with Kell and Arella, her two children, named “You are what is most beautiful about me”. In 2013, she again won the Archibald Prize, for her portrait of the actor Hugo Weaving. 

Barton’s paintings are fantastical and include female figures along with flowers and plants. In ancient times, flowers were used to represent femininity and female genitalia. Gradually, she started including photographic images of male figures. Many works are digital collages that incorporate gouache, glitter, sequins and markers. Her way of working includes: firstly, making a drawing, perhaps of an emotion, gesture or image from a dream.  Secondly, developing the drawings into highly patterned paintings, working simultaneously on two or more paintings. 

Barton is a leading contemporary artist who offers her audiences a powerful cacophony of imagery, naturally inviting lively exchange of thought and discussion. She shares with her audience the connectedness she feels with the natural landscape and the unseen world. She has an eye for detail and an in-depth understanding which proves that she is dedicated and methodical in her painting process.

Barton’s paintings explore a myriad of colours, line styles and patterns; and abounding adornments. She applies architectural pens directly on the paper so ‘there is no going back’. She claims that her drawings are made of highly personalised symbology and there is an energetic visual quality in the repetitive pattern.

If you liked this one, check out Did You Know About Mr. Sajja Sajjakul’s Metaphor-Laden Oil Paintings?


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