Artist / Maker / Writer - I am a full time working visual artist, HSC Visual Arts mentor and a sometimes drawing teacher.
You can see my day to day arts practice here on Instagram http://instagram.com/leoniebarton
The current ephemeral works and sculpture in the galleries are a continuation and a variation on, a years long daily discipline of creating an artwork regardless of circumstance, weather or location and using only materials from the ground, found in the moment.
In 2015, I exhibited a portion of this project in London at the Kings Place Gallery, I was also invited to speak about the project at a TEDx regional talk - "The Art of Saying Yes !" I completed this task each day, not only in various parts of Australia, but in Shanghai and San Francisco as well and finishing up the year as a part of the Avalon Art Carnival - a public works program curated by Kendal Henry, the current Public Arts Director of New York.
Most recently in January 2017, I was invited to exhibit at Singapore Contemporary's inaugural PHOTO17, curated by Patricia de la Motte, after finishing up 2016 with exhibitions at the Royal Botanical Gardens of Sydney and the The Other Art Fair Sydney.
All of the above as well as, in chronological order - daughter, sister, wife and mother, who tries to garden, cook, and move slowly.......
Before... (how did I get to here)
I had plenty of waiting time on film sets or backstage in my previous careers as a production manager, directors assistant and agency producer, so I always had a sketchbook at hand to fill the time, either writing or drawing. When my children arrived, it was an opportunity to explore a more creative life, so I opened an art supplies store, which also housed my studio. I loved the store, it was beautiful, but it kept me too busy to paint.
In 2010, the store was sold so I could commit to a full time art practice, which has seen me exhibit as a finalist in selected group shows across Australia. This also gave me the opportunity to teach drawing , mentor to HSC Visual Arts students, and become an assessor for the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme.
In 2013, alongside developing various bodies of work, I was commissioned to become the background painter for an international photographer. Special projects see my illustrations and paintings applied to textiles, and even as backdrops for royal portraits.
I continue my own bodies of work in between deadlines, which include the photography that resulted from spending a month in the deserts of Namibia, Western Africa, alone with a camera and sketchbook. The results of this trip will eventually make it to this site, however if you have a particular interest, I am happy to share it with you, just get in contact.
From an early age, I have always been a wanderer and explorer. Growing up on a river in the bush, with the freedom to roam and discover, I have always collected treasures and decorated my patch. Decades later, I find myself continuing, but now documenting the end result by photograph.
I gather from the ground and assemble materials together, compositionally hoping for balance and harmony.
These images depict how I respond to my immediate environment, they are site responsive and the materials, site specific. These images are simply records of that moment in my life.
And like all other moments, eventually they’re gone.
I want to preserve these moments not only for myself, but as a reminder to others, to continue to be present, to slow down and look at their world more carefully. To provoke an appreciation and consciousness of the natural world in others, concerned that we are becoming increasingly disconnected from it, oblivious to it’s constant miracles and change. I would like to leave the viewer with a renewed way of looking at their own everyday environment.
The artwork serves as a warning, to highlight the transience of everything that we know, even ourselves.
There is a freedom in the way I work because of it’s temporary nature and the randomness in finding the materials to work with. No day is the same. It keeps my eye fresh, while I’m looking for the connections. It’s a line, a curve, a texture, pattern, colour or even the empty spaces. Its making sure the eye can move around the photograph and still be perhaps, surprised about what the materials actually are.
The backgrounds in some of my work, play an equal part as the materials I lay upon it.
The materials not only have to relate to each other, but to the space around them. It can be a marking upon the ground, a texture, a connection with the light.
For the image to succeed everything must connect, even myself.
I enjoy working in this way, as it can be done no matter where I am in the world. I have completed these works in urban, suburban and outback Australia, in China and the U.S
I like that my artwork eventually returns to the ground where it has come from and that I am not required to be a consumer to create and experience it. It is my way of treading lightly upon the Earth.
All environmental art in a general sense, is art that helps improve our relationship with the natural world, whether it is referred to as assemblage, an exterior installation, earth art, eco art, nature art, however you label it, it is there as a reminder of the fragility of our environment, that nothing lasts.
All is perishable……. even us.