Del Kathryn Barton’s self-portrait depicts her with her son and daughter, Kell and Arella.
‘This painting celebrates the love I have for my two children and how my relationship with them has radically informed and indeed transformed my understanding of who I am,’ she says.
‘The title of the work – you are what is most beautiful about me – alludes to that utterly profound “in-loveness” that all mothers have for their children. Both my children have taken my world by storm and very little compares to the devotion I feel for them both. The intensity of this emotion is not something that I could have prepared myself for. The alchemy of life offered forth from my inhabitable woman’s body is perhaps the greatest gift of my life.’
Known for its vibrant, figurative imagery, Barton’s work combines traditional painting techniques with contemporary design and illustrative styles. Although she does a lot of figurative work, much of it self-referential, she doesn’t do a great deal of portraiture though she was represented in last year’s Archibald Prize with a painting of art dealer Vasili Kaliman.
Born in Sydney in 1972, Barton has a Bachelor of Fine Art from the College of Fine Arts, University of NSW, where she taught for three years until 2003. She has had regular solo exhibitions since 2000 and has participated in national and international group shows including the Helen Lempiere Travelling Art Scholarship, the Blake Prize for Religious Art and the Sulman Prize. She was a finalist in the 2007 Dobell Prize for Drawing.