albertz benda is pleased to present r u a bunny?, Del Kathryn Barton’s first solo exhibition in the United States, on view from June 1 to July 14, 2017. Deeply rooted in the spirit of Australian landscape and culture, r u a bunny? incorporates elements of the sublime, the natural world, and mythology to explore femininity and strength.
Combining traditional painting techniques with contemporary design, illustrative styles and animation, Barton evokes femininity in both form and spirit. One of Australia’s foremost contemporary artists working today, Barton’s distinctive use of line across painting, illustration, video and collage creates a vibrant figurative dream world, rich with personal references and poignant juxtapositions. Similar in precision and intricacy to the work of Egon Schiele or graphic Japanese animations, Barton’s illustrative process is typified in her repetitive abstract patterning, specifically in her paintings that represent intangible vibrations and energy.
r u a bunny? will be anchored by the short film RED, featuring Cate Blanchett, written and directed by Del Kathryn Barton and produced by Aquarius Films. The live-action work explores the mythological notion of the female spider as the creator of the universe, and the unusual sexual cannibalism of the Australian redback spider. The film, according to Barton, presents “an uncompromising celebration of female power...this brutal chronicle spoke to me of the poetics of female power as an inherent and indeed elemental force in the universe (and that this, at times can be a lonely place).” Here female power and complexity collide with the innocence of the child and primal nature of the spider in a surrealist celebration of sex, birth and death. RED will be Barton’s most ambitious live-action project to date and follows the success of Oscar Wilde’s The Nightingale and the Rose, which premiered at Berlin International Film Festival and Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) in 2015, and won an Australian Guild Directors Award (ADG) in 2016.
The exhibition will include a range of paintings, the screening of RED, and a series of hand finished photomontage works that conflates the female form with exotic flowers. Informed by Georg Wilhelm Hegel’s Philosophy of Nature, Encyclopaedia of the Philosophical Sciences (1830), Barton anatomises orchids with splayed legs which are set against hallucinatory resonant patterns that recall Dadaist photomontages.
About the artist
Born in 1972 in Sydney, Australia, Del Kathryn Barton has participated in many group exhibitions that include: Like-ness, Albertz Benda, New York, USA, (2016); Dark Heart, Adelaide Biennale of Australian Art, Adelaide, Australia, (2014); Theatre of the World, Museum of Old and New Art, Tasmania, Australia, (2012), Lightness and Gravity, Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, Australia, (2012); Freehand: Recent Australian Drawing, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne, Australia, (2010/11); 2009 Wynne Prize for Landscape, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, (2009) Half a World Away: Drawings from Glasgow, Sao Paulo and Sydney, Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Centre, Buffalo, New York, USA (2002).
Her solo exhibitions include: angel dribble, RoslynOxley9 Gallery, Sydney, Australia, (2016); the highway is a disco, ARNDT, Singapore (2015); Electro Orchid, RoslynOxley9 Gallery, Sydney, Australia (2014); The Nightingale and the Rose, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne, Australia (2012); the stars eat your body, Kaliman Gallery, Sydney, Australia (2009); the whole of everything, Karen Woodbury Gallery, Melbourne, Australia (2008), and thank you for loving me, Karen Woodbury Gallery, Melbourne, Australia, (2005).
Barton was awarded The Archibald Prize, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney twice, in 2013 and 2008, in addition to being nominated for a range of awards that include the Dobell Drawing Prize, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney (2007) and The Sulman Prize, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney (1995).