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"If I do it right every work ends in a solution that is in some way new and unrepeatable - that teaches me something about my materials and my subject. It’s not easy or comfortable but it is why painting is exciting. It is why painting matters."


Barry is an artist from Hamilton ON. He works in oils on canvas and panels, ink, pastels and watercolour on paper and the occasional sculpture. Landscape subjects dominate his body of work but it also includes still life, a large group of drawings of butterflies and some abstract compositions. Barry was born in 1954 and grew up in Vineland Station, ON, where farming, gardening and camping established his interest in the outdoors. Drawing with his grandfather and family visits to galleries established his interest in art. Barry studied at the University of Guelph, first in biology, then switched to Fine Art and completed his B.A. in 1978. After university Barry stayed in Guelph for several years, painting and drawing in his studio and working extensively in the outdoors near home and on trips across Canada. Painting trips are sometimes solo endeavors, with family or very often with other artists, notably fellow Guelph graduate Scott Abbott. Scott and Barry painted at the Abbotts’ cottage near Parry Sound immediately after graduation in 1978 and have repeated the experience as often as possible ever since. While still a student, Barry started working in the university art gallery as assistant preparator, work that led to a part-time career in museum work at Guelph, the Art Gallery of Ontario, Harbourfront Gallery in Toronto, and the Prairie Gallery in Grande Prairie AB. He has lived in Hamilton with his wife Barbara and their two children since 1988. Barry has exhibited widely in public and private galleries in Canada and received numerous awards and grants, including a month as Artist-in-Residence at Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland. His work is in the collections of the Art Gallery of Guelph, the Alberta Art Foundation, the Art Gallery of Newfoundland and Labrador and other public, corporate and private collections in Canada and abroad. Barry is represented by Ingram Gallery in Toronto, Earls Court Gallery in Hamilton and Madrona Gallery in Victoria, BC.

Artist Statement

I make paintings in oils on canvas and panel and mixed media drawings (ink, pastel and watercolour) on paper. Landscape subjects dominate but I do some still life and sculpture and, in 2012, an extensive series of butterfly drawings. My focus is always on strong composition and expressive mark-making, while also creating a meaningful connection between the marks and my observations and thoughts concerning the subject. As much as possible, I make finished work on site, out in the landscape –where I can engage directly with my subject and my materials simultaneously, creating the perfect conditions for a complex and fully integrated set of relationships to develop. In the studio, I make larger pieces, working from small, quick sketches and unfinished or failed field pieces that contain the germ of a good idea. This keeps the element of discovery alive and allows the studio work to retain the quality of immediacy so important to my method. This process (sorting out a subject from the chaos of nature, identifying which of the many possible observations and emotions will be the focus of this particular work, forming the composition and exploring the influence of the choice of materials and the character of the mark-making) is endlessly variable and totally engrossing for me, even after 40 years, and produces objects capable of taking viewers on their own journey of discovery.

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