Del kathryn barton, in night too 2012 - Sydney

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Item details

City: Sydney, New South Wales
Offer type: Sell


Contact name MenziesArt
Phone 02 8344 5404

Item description

The relationship between artist Del Kathryn Barton, her audience, and the outlandish but very human images that find their way onto her canvas is a complex one. In classical Archibald portraiture—where Barton claimed the premier prize in 2008 and 2013—the artist often seeks to lay bare the inner workings of the sitter in a manner that builds on and finally transcends the notion of true likeness. The artist makes the subject’s painted image communicate directly with the viewing audience by manipulating the gaze of both the sitter and audience. In many of Del Kathryn Barton’s images, the gaze of each is turned inward to pierce the armour of ‘the self’. The picture surface is embellished in a myriad of tiny painted marks as if the artist were an abiding quilt-maker, fabricating the canvas with painted ‘needlepoint’. This threaded sensibility appears like female armour, the fabric of catwalk extravaganza, going well beyond the notion of decoration. While European masters such as Gustav Klimt (1862-1918) created rich drapery to sexually glorify his fashionable female subjects, in the recent 2012 work In Night Too Barton uses a different kind of painted fabrication to strip herself bare, overtly liberating an anxious sexuality. Her breasts, hair, eyes, eye makeup, lipstick, fingernail polish, scarf are all as a young hip female might report them: with misgivings. This exaggerated uncertainty is the essence of the contemporary feminine referenced in the image, tacking fashionably in the opposite direction to Klimt. Barton has noted: ‘I look at a lot of fashion to see the contrary ways society is celebrating and defining female beauty.’1