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Holocaust Response Self Portrait, 2016

One of Eight

Digital Print


Irene Barberis

architectonics: portrait of a time takes the lens of two ideas; an ‘architecture of time’: ‘regeneration’, symbolized through an encasing of the artist’s breath, and the portrait as a response to historical data of the Holocaust.


The fluorescent work takes my breath, which has passed through my body, and inflates a crumpled form into a breath filled, radiant architectonic. The form balances in front of a set of self-portraits taken by me in the process of reading, drawing and responding to Holocaust material found on the net – I was unable to work beyond the first recording and felt the self-portraits were better documentation of this unfathomable evil.


The Holocaust memories are transformed by the inherent light qualities of the material to reveal a glowing presence: a ‘portraiture in focus’.


Irene Barberis





Irene Barberis is an Australian based artist born in London, whose arts practice spans 40 years. Since 1984 she has worked with process and ideas of the ‘everyday’, ‘the end and beginning’, and is known for her provocative high-chroma exhibitions negotiating contemporary belief and faith through the use of cutting edge materials including plastics, silicones and new light forms. She is a painter, installation and new media artist working also with performative drawing and spatial kineasthetics. She has held over fifty solo exhibitions in Australia and abroad and participated in more than ninety group exhibitions. Irene is known also for her international initiatives, exhibitions and curatorial work with Drawing.

She is an academic and Founding Director of Metasenta® Projects, a global arts research 'satellite' which functions between Universities, arts organizations and artists. She has initiated multiple international arts projects in collaboration with artists and institutions in the UK, USA, the Middle East and the Far East.


Irene holds an MA from Melbourne University VCA and a PhD from Victoria University, Melbourne. Her current major Art and Science Project commences its international travel program in Europe in 2017 at the Brussels Cathedral/Basilica. The centerpiece of these exhibitions is her 36 x 3 mt illuminated artwork ‘The Tapestry of Light: Intersections of Illumination; and includes a T&H publication and documentary narrated by University of London’s Emeritus Professor Michelle. P. Brown.


She is the International Chair for the Crossing the Line: Drawing in the Middle East, and Global Drawing series of conferences (the latest in Florence 2015), is a keynote speaker and international Curator. She is a Senior Lecturer/Researcher at RMIT School of Art, working off shore in Hong Kong, and is a faculty member of the New York based Rome Art Program. Barberis received funding of $375,000 for her research with Metasenta®, and through this commissioned the major publication on Drawing, Contemporary Australian Drawing Volume 1 authored by Dr. Janet McKenzie. She is currently Co Director of gallery, Langford120 Melbourne, is Founder and Director of the Global Centre for Drawing and Metasenta Publications, publishing Australian and international artists. She is authoring two books by Thames and Hudson, The Tapestry of Light: Intersections of Illumination, and Metasenta®: A New Paradigm for Arts Education. Her work is held in museums, galleries, public and private collections around the world.


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