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Irene Barberis is an Australian artist and is based in Melbourne and London. She is a painter primarily, working also with installation, drawing, and new media art. She is also the founding director of an international arts research centre, and is an international curator and writer.
Barberis was born in Chiswick, England, in 1953 and moved to Australia in 1956. She grew up in rural Victoria and began studying ballet at the age of three, only giving it up after an injury at age nineteen. She completed a post graduate at the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne. On receiving the 1979 Keith and Elizabeth Murdoch Fellowship from the VCA, Barberis lived and worked in Paris for three years, returning to Australia in 1982. She married Australian sculptor Adrian Page in 1984 and in 1988 had their one chid Rebekah Georgia Page. She completed an MFA at the Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne University in 1994 and a PhD on "Abstract and Figurative Elements of the Apocalypse and its Representations" in 2000 . She is a Senior lecturer at the RMIT University School of Art and lectures in painting in the off shore School of Art program in Hong Kong, at the Hong Kong Art School. She is the Founder and Director of the Global Centre for Drawing, Director of Metasenta Publications and is Co Director of Gallery Langford120, in Melbourne, Australia. Barberis has been the International Critic for the New York-based, 'Rome Art Program' for 3 Years.
Barberis is the founding director of Metasenta an international arts research hub, supported by a number of universities including RMIT University in Melbourne and the University of the Arts, London. She has been director of its hubs and projects since this time. Her work with Metasenta has included initiating international art projects, exhibitions, publications and films. She founded and directed the mobile gallery, The DrawingSpace, Melbourne, an extension of her 2004 Public Arts Commission, A Kineaesthetic Experience: 10 Works which utilised dormant spaces around Frankston, Victoria. Metasenta is known for published and commissioned books. For example, Barberis, on behalf of Metasenta, commissioned a new survey of Australian drawing, Contemporary Australian Drawing #1.
Barberis curated the large international survey exhibition "Across the Gulf; Bahrain Dubai and Abu Dhabi: 22 Artists" for the 2009 Arc Biennial Brisbane. Barberis has also concentrated on major drawing exhibitions including in 2010 Contemporary Australian Drawing#1, 35 Artists, RMIT Gallery, and Contemporary Australian Drawing #2, 84 Artists, University of the Arts London, Gallery Langford 120, 2012. She was international Chair of the Conference" Crossing the Line: Drawing in the Middle East", which formed a dialogue through drawing at the beginning of the Arab Spring. Crossing the Line: Drawing in the Middle East2 Conference was held in Dubai in September 2014 in which Barberis was the initiator and International Chair. Contemporary Australian Drawing #4 was held in September 2013 at the New York Studio School and included 94 Australian Artists. A number of Barberis' initiatives and philosophies on Drawing through the University systems, Galleries and Drawing Centres is documented in the June Issue of the Australian Journal, Imprint', 'The Good Drawing', University of the Arts London, 2012 and "The Drawn Word; even if I write my name I am drawing", 2014.
Barberis has been making art since the mid-1970s, and was a post graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts, winning the Keith and Elizabeth Murdoch Travelling Fellowship in 1979. She gradually adopted Biblical subject matter in her work. She has exhibited internationally since the 1980s. In 2005, she initiated and was part of the exhibition "Intersections: Reading the Space" at the Jewish Museum of Australia, which was exhibited in 2005 at the Contemporary Jewish Museum of San Francisco. Other exhibitions include "Trancentric," London, 2008, "The Agency of Words" Lethaby Gallery, London, Text Festival 2009, Bury Museum and Art Gallery, Manchester, UK, "Apocalypse; Seven Histories into Futures", Arc Biennial 2009, Brisbane, Australia, 'Lines of Thinking, Langford120 in 2011, and Apocalypse/Revelation: Re Looking, 2012. Her major project 'The Tapestry of Light' in collaboration with 4 international scholars including Emerita Professor Michelle.P. Brown ( University of London), and Scientist, Professor David Mainwaring ( Swinburne University), is in process and is due for completion in 2017. The Visual Arts Centre, Latrobe University, Bendigo has hosted the latest exhibition which includes works made by the Australian Tapestry Workshop.
- "Contact Us: Dr Irene Barberis". RMIT University. Retrieved 12 December 2013.
- "Drawing the longest line from Australia to the Gulf (14 April 2010)". RMIT University. Retrieved 12 December 2013.
- National Gallery of Victoria. "Collection - Artist Listing (Irene Barberis)". Retrieved 12 December 2013.
- McKenzie, Janet. "Apocalypse in Pink: The Work of Irene Barberis", Studio International, 26 March 2007.
- "Metasenta Publications". Langford 120. Retrieved 12 December 2013.
- Yeoman, William (11 April 2012). "Book Review: Contemporary Australian Drawing #1". The West Australian. Retrieved 12 December 2013.
- Catching, Rebecca (3 March 2009). "Brisbane bridge to the Gulf". The National. Retrieved 12 December 2013.
- "Intersections: Reading the Space. October 23, 2005 - February 26, 2006". Contemporary Jewish Museum. Retrieved 13 December 2013.
- "Transcentric (29 October 2008)". The Centres Project. Retrieved 12 December 2013.