Relative Terrains: Karma Barnes & Robert Franken

An immersive exhibition celebrating the power of collaboration.

Karma Barnes - Relative Terrains

This immersive exhibition celebrates the power of collaboration and the profound impact of relationships on our lives. Through a series of large-scale installations, visitors delve into the intricate web of connections that shape and transform us. 

At the heart of this exhibition lies the use of earth pigments – the material, interface, and mediator through which different elements converge. Utilising pigments collected from disturbed landscapes, including landslides and eroded sites, the work brings attention to climatic events within our community. The installations serve as catalysts for reflection, prompting us to contemplate how these external forces have reshaped and shifted our internal landscapes and terrains.

Relative Terrains was originally created for Lismore Regional Gallery. Some of the works for this exhibition were developed through a workshop held in August, however the exhibition's journey took an unexpected turn due to the 2022 devastating floods. The Grafton Regional Gallery embraced the opportunity to partner with Lismore Regional Gallery in relocating the exhibition, reaffirming the power of art to transcend challenges.

Karma Barnes is a New Zealand artist, based on Bundjalung Country in the Northern Rivers, NSW. Her creative practice encompasses installation art, painting, participatory and social impact practices, community and street art. Engagement and participation are integral to her work, and drawing on large numbers of people to collaborate on colossal scale projects is her passion. She graduated in 2014 with a Master’s Degree in Creative and Expressive Arts Practice and 2009 with a Bachelor of Art and Creativity. Karma's work has reached a wide audience, with exhibitions across Australasia, Europe, Asia, and the USA, engaging more than 15,000 participants in her site-specific works. Most recently Karma's work has been exhibited at the MACRO ASILO Museum of Contemporary Art Rome and the New Mexico State University Museum. 

Robèrt Franken is a Dutch painter, sculptor and art educator based in Wellington, New Zealand, whose practise has spanned 60 years. Robe`rt was born in the Hague, The Netherlands. A sixth-generation artist, Robert was brought up in the studios connected to the Panorama Mesdag Museum. Robe`rt studied from 1963 at the Free Academy of Arts, the Hague. 

Upon completion of his studies,  Robe`rt emigrated to New Zealand to pursue his artistic career in a new environment. Robe`rt has extensively exhibited internationally with exhibitions. Karma Barnes and Robe`rt Franken met some 25 years ago in Wellington, New Zealand, originally as student and teacher with their connection evolving from mentoring to friendship to collaboration.

This exhibition is show from 16 September to 12 November 2023.

Image credits:
Above and banner: Karma Barnes Palimpsests: Echoes of Creation and Transformation, 2023 (details). Image courtesy of the artist.
Homepage square: Karma Barnes CO-Lapses, 2023 (detail). Image courtesy of the artist.

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