Lucy Barker

Lucy Barker's latest works, which feature banderoles, came from an exploration of empty space. I actually trained as a lawyer and I still work in the law. My art practice started when I completed year-long courses with Matthew Browne and Kathryn Stevens at (what was then) Art Station in Ponsonby in 2006/2007. Since then I have exhibited in a number of competitions and group shows.


My latest works, which feature banderoles, came from an exploration of empty space. In medieval art or illuminated manuscripts the speech of the characters depicted was often contained within speech banners or banderoles. Often these were left empty in order for the reader to provide their own response, or because words were simply inadequate to describe the scene. These works explore how banderoles can be simultaneously empty and at the same time frames for impending thoughts or words.

When I started out my work was primarily figurative, so it was a highlight to have been a finalist in the Adam Portraiture Award at the New Zealand Portraiture Gallery and additionally selected for the travelling tour. I have also been a finalist in the New Zealand Painting and Printmaking Awards and the Parkin Drawing Prize.

In 2020 I completed a half-year course with Deborah Crowe at the Browne School of Art designed to help artists establish research ‘scaffolding’ to underpin their art practice. Through that course I have developed a research repository, which includes images, articles, and my own critical responses to these, which I add to regularly and has been really enriching to draw on. 

I think I will always return to portraying people and there will always be a representative element in there. Over the years the techniques I keep returning to are distortion, complication, repetition, fragmentation and symbolism.