Liam Barr

Turning Tide

Giclee Print

440 x 610 mm



About this artwork

Image Size: 365 x 550 mm
Paper Size: 440 x 610 mm
Limited edition of: 30

Artist bio

At the heart of Liam Barr’s artistic expression lies the exploration of humanities relationship with its environment. Through meticulously crafted oil paintings, he skillfully captures the essence of people and their sense of belonging, or lack of. While his painting technique may be considered classical with its multi-layered approach, his subject matter is not. Each series of work explores a different thematic, from his early magic-surrealist and tiki-inspired motifs to narratives rooted in history, Barr’s artistry has continuously evolved. In his recent works, he blends realism with a touch of semi-surrealism, immersing the viewer in a beguiling realm of imagination and storytelling.

Liam Barr, born in Scotland in 1966 immigrated to Aotearoa in 1974. Barr’s artistic path took shape after settling in Fremantle, W.A. during the early 90’s. In 2001 he closed his Perth based design practice to focus solely on his fine art. In 2004, he returned to Aotearoa, accompanied by his wife and daughter, to further nurture his practice and voice within a NZ landscape.

The 2010’s marked a significant period of evolution for Barr’s artistic style and thematic focus. During this time, he began to delve deeper into New Zealand’s cultural and historical narratives, exploring and questioning his place as a Pākeha. His works from this period often depicted surreal and fantastical scenes, inviting viewers to ponder the complexities of identity and belonging.

In recent years, Barr has continued to expand his artistic horizons, exploring various themes while maintaining his signature narrative style. His later works reflect a matured perspective with a stronger emphasis toward environmental and social issues. These works are celebrated for their emotional depth and the nuanced portrayal of his subjects. A prominent example is Barr’s 10th solo show, Overflow (2023 Webb’s Wellington), which delves into the pressing environmental challenges facing us all. These paintings characterise humanities struggle to ‘be’ on the land and how we negotiate these evolving environmental impacts both socially and ecologically. These works are imbued with meaning, have a strong sense of place and invite a discourse on a climate-changed world combined with post-Covid disorientation.

Barr has contributed to numerous national and international group shows and has work in various collections, including The Stevenson Collection. Public exhibitions include; Scape, Whakatāne Art Museum (2014), Mind Games – An Exhibition of Surrealism in Aotearoa, Hastings City Art Gallery (2009). Tears For Tāne’s Children, Whangārei Art Museum (2007). Portrait commissions include the World of Wearable Art winning entry – Dame Suzie Moncrieff (2014). Korean War Armistice Commemoration Portrait, NZ Defence & Veteran Services (2014), and personal portrait of New Zealand art critic and historian, Michael Dunn (2019). The Urban Art Foundation (2020) had a retrospective of Barr’s work which was exhibited nationally via digital billboards. This retrospective collection was then part of the International Urban Art Exchange, exhibited in Finland on super large scale digital screens mounted to the side of buildings.

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