Artist Profile

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Gaylene A. Barnes

New Zealand
Artist’s Statement

In a response to material extinction-level threats from climate change, I wonder how we can be anticipating such a certain end, when we know so little of our beginning? I turn my attention to our origins and ask - where have we come from?
Te disciples said to Jesus, "Tell us how our end will be." Jesus said, "Have you
discovered, then, the beginning, that you look for the end? For where the
beginning is, there will the end be. Blessed is he who will take his place in the
beginning; he will know the end and will not experience death.” [LOGION 18, GOSPEL OF THOMAS]
Material investigations are only just starting to unravel the mysterious sub-atomic quantum world we inhabit. From the trinity of quarks within the lonely eternal proton - our particle density, to the dancing orbitals of the hidden electron releasing photons - our energetic potency, to the phenomenal nuclear bonds which lock orbitals into molecular periodic patterns, some with signifcant force, such as carbon dioxide [CO2] ... yet, even this strong bond, is easily undone, by the smallest leaf or petal, sharing perfect light with us, every day.
Refective 23kt golden rings & discs; dense dark burnt bone carbon; vermillion, manganese & violet lakes of plasma; blistered lime gesso; and, the ephemeral energetic juice of the rose petal - are my chosen expressions of atomic elements from cosmic beginnings. Here the 'gluon' of life emerges from an intuitive search, revealing cross-sections of soul. It is pure thought and bonds of love ... in matter, energy and light. It is a curious circular journey – traveling forward to our origins, where we fnd love and life.


Gaylene Anne Barnes (Canterbury, NZ) has a multi-disciplinary practice as a painter and flmmaker. She explores nature, science and spirituality with reference to wisdom traditions. Her egg tempera and illuminated watercolour paintings build on the tradition of sacred iconography, a grammar frst learnt in England from artist Aidan Hart (NZ), iconographer for HRH Te Prince of Wales. Traditional icons are intersections between divine and material realms, and enable contemplation of transfgured sacred matter. Gaylene is an organic farmer, fermenter and herbalist – thus she ofen grows, grounds, infuses and distills her paints and mediums from scratch – using the elements of animal, vegetable and mineral in a conscious manner. Whilst many of her works are in the tradition of contemporary iconography, she also works in the non- objective space. Her recent study of sacred geometry – especially the work of Keith Critchlow, ancient perennial philosophers, workshops in Granada on Islamic Art, and study at the Princes School of Traditional Arts in London – have been a major inspiration. Gaylene has been a self- employed full-time artist, creating works using words or images, moving or meditative - ever since she won the Southland Young Contemporary of the Year Award in 1988. Since then Gaylene has been nominated for awards in flm design and flm editing. She has had her short flms screened internationally in flm festivals from Sydney to Berlin to Alaska. Her recent feature flm, on the nature of our precious rivers, screened nationally to large audiences with wide reviews. She has completed painting commissions for international and local patrons, and is a member of Te American Guild of Sacred Artists.

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