Barry Smith

Exhibition: Twin Flames of Perfect

Barry Smith is a Tasmanian artist from Blackwall in the north of the state. His work in this exhibition is heavily influenced by a childhood wonder about the mysteries of bird flight. From his early years he explored the ease in which birds could fly in any conditions with a mastery of control. This has culminated in a lifelong interest in birds and their flight characteristics.

Running parallel to this, also from an early age he developed a boyhood interest in everything aviation. Aircraft shared with birds an aerodynamic perfection of shape which jolted his developing artist’s eye.

With the coming of the 1960s and 1970s, aircraft took on a much perceived darker role as a bringer of death and destruction, becoming symbolic in a teenagers mind of a whole generation’s Cold War nuclear fears. With these fears very firmly and deeply buried, his art practise developed along conventional directions into adulthood.

In 2000, Barry committed himself to a three year Visual Arts Degree at Deakin in Warrnambool. This collision of long held ideas, knowledge, developed themes and practises with academic art theory and new apotheosis caused deeply embedded concepts and memories based on historic events such as Vietnam, Cold War and early views about world events to resurface, using the fear for a positive purpose, a new direction of subject matter was developed.

University based thinking opened up opportunities to express powerful modes of symbolism and to explore diverse methods to manifest complex ideas and subjects beyond images on paper and canvas – but rather, through sculptural expression.

This process of viewing defining historical events through aerodynamic form has become a potent form of symbolic expression in his artistic practise.