Exhibitions    A Venice of the Mind


Istituto Italiano di Cultura, Melbourne, Australia presents A Venice of the Mind by Lisa Barmby, with special guest from Italy, writer Andrea di Robilant.

For a number of years Venice has been at the heart of Barmby's work as an artist. From her first visit Barmby fell in love with the city, and there are many interlocking reasons. Firstly there is the gondola, a paradoxical private place on public display. She is also interested in the historical Venice - the theatrical daily life, solemn ceremonies, costumes, courtesans, fascination with exotic animals, excesses and oddities. Furthermore there are the masks, worn daily during the 18th century, no doubt as a form of secrecy but also as an intriguing social equalizer. Finally there are the Venetian courtesans, some of them radical figures of their time with a freedom socially, creatively, sexually and financially that is almost contemporary.

Barmby finds this contemplation of the historical city and the Venice oftoday a rich source of images and metaphors for her work. Barmby can examine contemporary issues in the light, color and energetic life of unique and magnificent Venice.

Lisa Barmby first visited Venice in 1982 and then lived in Paris from 1989 for 5 years where she studied drama at the prestigious Ecole Florent. Returning to Australia in 1994, she studied in the Diploma of Visual Art course at RMIT. Barmby’s work has since been shown in numerous solo and group exhibitions in Australia and Europe including Sous le Ciel de Paris, 2003, Galerie Vivienne, Paris; Venezia- Australis, Australian Artists in Venice 1900-2000, curated by Castlemaine Art Gallery in 2005 (touring nationally); Slender Harbour for Innovators 1, 2010, at the Linden Centre for Contemporary Arts and Flourish, 2011, at the Toyota Community Spirit Sculpture Exhibition. She won the Linden Postcard Prize in 2000 and the Linden Arts Spectrum Prize in 2002. In 2007, Barmby discovered Peggy Guggenheim’s gondola in Venice’s Naval Museum. This led to an entirely new sculptural direction and her first installation, Peggy & Venice, 2009, in Flinders Lane, in which she looked at Venice through Peggy Guggenheim’s courageous, theatrical life. Barmby was awarded a travel grant by the Ian Potter Cultural Trust in 2010 to complete a residency at La Scuola Internazionale di Grafica in Venice. A highlight of the residency was meeting the gondola artisans of El Felze Associazione. One of them, Carlo Valese, invited Barmby to view his workshop casting brass gondola ornaments. Valese is one of the last craftsmen in Venice making these ‘cavài’ (seahorses), using an ancient 13th century “French sand-book” technique.

Seventh Harbour by Lisa Barmby

Seventh Harbour  2010

Oil on linen

46 x 52cm

I Know Where I'm Going by Lisa Barmby

I Know Where I'm Going  2012

Oil on linen

91 x 111 cm

Elsewhere by Lisa Barmby

Elsewhere  2012

oil on linen

35 x 35cm.JPG

Ca Pesaro by Lisa Barmby

Ca Pesaro  2009

Oil on linen

56 x 66 cm

Carnevale by Lisa Barmby

Carnevale  2007

oil on linen

50 x 40 cm

Cavaii by Lisa Barmby

Cavaii  2012

oil on linen

24 x 30cm

Goldoni's Taxi by Lisa Barmby

Goldoni's Taxi  2002

oil on linen

40 x 50 cm

Place Above The Trees by Lisa Barmby

Place Above The Trees  2009


70 x 30 x 20 cm

Golden Book by Lisa Barmby

Golden Book  2004

oil on linen

60 x 50cm

Nero by Lisa Barmby

Nero  2010

oil on linen

35 x 35cm

Palo Veneziano by Lisa Barmby

Palo Veneziano  2010

oil on linen

30 x 20cm

Gondola Shoe by Lisa Barmby

Gondola Shoe  2005

oil on board

25 x 30cm

Punta della Dogana by Lisa Barmby

Punta della Dogana  2012

oil on linen

20 x 30cm

I Know Where I'm Going(1) by Lisa Barmby

I Know Where I'm Going(1)  2010

oil on linen

40 x 50 cm

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