Arriving in November to the NGV Australia, Del Kathryn Barton’s The Highway is a Disco exhibition will run until March 2018. This is the two-time Archibald prize-winner’s largest exhibit, and will display 150 of her new and recent works. The exhibition will feature Del Kathryn Barton’s traditional medium of painting and her famed kaleidoscope portraits. Yet NGV Australia will also showcase a never before seen large-scale sculpture in homage to her mother, and her short film RED, which stars Academy Award winner Cate Blanchett.
Del Kathyn Barton’s work has been immensely popular across Australia, largely due to her emblematic artistic style and stunning use of colour and composition. The upcoming exhibit will further display her contribution to Australia’s artistic scene.
Tony Ellwood, the director of the NGV says “with a practice spanning art, fashion and film, Barton’s psychedelic images reveal her personal responses to the human experience. She is one of Australia’s most popular artists, renowned for her highly intricate and distinctive hybrid forms, that break down boundaries between humans and nature.”
Born in Sydney in 1972, Del Kathryn Barton completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the College of Fine Arts at the University of New South Wales, in 1993. In 2008, she won her first Archibald prize with her symbolic self-portrait. The piece features Del Kathryn Barton posing with her two children, in a symmetrical composition with harmonious tones. In 2013, she won her second Archibald prize for a portrait of Australian actor, Hugo Weaving.
Del Kathryn Barton is known for her deeply personal pieces, and The Highway is a Disco reflects just that. Her debut sculpture, ‘At the Foot of Your Love’ is a piece created in response to her mother’s terminal illness. The sculpture was completed this year, and consists of printed silk and Huon pine. The use of organic materials mirrors Del Kathryn Barton’s recurring themes of motherhood and nature, while also highlighting the grief for her mother.
While exploring new mediums, Del Kathryn Barton’s iconic paintings will also be featured within the exhibit. The Highway is a Disco will showcase her newest and largest painting to date. The piece consists of five panels which are over ten metres in length, and is a female-focused representation of the ‘Puff the Magic Dragon‘ song by Peter, Paul and Mary. The painting reflects Del Kathryn Barton’s childlike curiosity that influences her works, and features four breasted, rainbow dragons reminiscent of her classically mythical style.
The artist’s theme of womanhood and feminine sexuality is further explored in her short film, RED. Starring Cate Blanchett, the actress adopts the role of a redback spider’s deadly mating process. The film also features actor Alex Russell, Charmene Yap from Sydney Dance Company, and Del Kathryn Barton’s daughter Arella.
Starting on November 17 2017, Del Kathryn Barton’s The Highway is a Disco is one of five solo artist exhibits in the NGV Australia’s 2017-2018 program. Entry to the exhibition is free, and more information is available here.