Solo show a digital Heart beat

Warren HatelyAugusta Margaret River Times
Gracetown artist Jenny Barr's digital drawings come to life in a solo exhibit at the Margaret River Heart next week.
Camera IconGracetown artist Jenny Barr's digital drawings come to life in a solo exhibit at the Margaret River Heart next week. Credit: Kendra Benson

Margaret River artist Jenny Barr’s first solo exhibition takes off next week with a bang.

Drawings and digital media from the artist form the basis of This Hopeful Shack, which opens at the Margaret River Heart on Wednesday.

The self-professed emerging artist who lives in Gracetown said her first solo outing included 25 big digital drawings reproduced on paper across two floors of the new public art gallery. “The drawings were drawn from inside my original 1977 beach shack in Gracetown,” she said.

“The first drawing I did in the series was of the rusted curls on the old fly-wire frame of the front door.

“It involved a wave (Cow Bombie) and the town’s anticipation of a forecasted swell.”

Once she started, the images continued into the series now on show.

“Each drawing is a mix of real-time events occurring in the bay and the imagined,” Barr said.

“They are about time passing, the poetry of the everyday, the domestic and the wild, and feature mid-century furniture and fabric prints, broken teapots and linoleum.”

Life in Gracetown was the key inspiration for her works and often came from unexpected avenues.

“For example, the first great white shark arrived in April,” she said. “I can hear the shark alarm warning through the front door — and the presence of fear and the wild started to appear in the drawings.”

Barr told the Times she loved drawing in particular because it was “like a language” for her.

She trained at Sydney’s National Art School where drawing was a foundation skill — and would practise up to nine hours a week during the first year.

“When using these digital drawing/art technologies, I stick to the act of drawing as a first principle,” she said.

“To make the images in this show, I used Adobe Draw and an iPad with an Apple Pencil, and each drawing has up to 20 layers of detail and line work — and each has taken up to a year of working.”

Multimedia time lapses of the works in progress would also feature at the Heart. Twenty per cent of of exhibition’s sales will go to the volunteer-backed Arts Margaret River.

Barr’s work also features at Bunbury Regional Art Gallery as part of the annual South West Times exhibition which runs until April 15. This Hopeful Shack runs until March 30.

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