Gaylene Anne Barnes (Moir) is an artist living in Canterbury, NZ. She has a multi-disciplinary practice that embraces painting, filmmaking and creative writing and is born out of a contemplative spirituality. She intuitively explores the realms of elemental matter, nature, alchemy, science, spirituality and symbolism – both from the current zeitgeist and with reference to wisdom traditions.

Her paintings in egg tempera or illuminated watercolour, build on the tradition of sacred iconography, a grammar she first learnt in England from her mentor Aidan Hart – a favoured iconographer of HRH The Prince of Wales. Icon painting is a meditative art-form, created for an intimate reception of one subject to another. In the same manner of the traditional icon, her paintings may become intersections between divine and earthly realms, or simply enable prayerful contemplation of nature transfigured by the incarnation of Christ.

Gaylene is also an experienced certified organic farmer, fermenter and herbal alchemist – thus she often grows, grounds, infuses and distils her paints from scratch. Her egg tempera and 24c burnished gold works on board or paper use the natural elements of the animal, vegetable and mineral kingdoms in a conscious way.

Whilst many of her works are in the tradition of iconography – often with a contemporary twist – she has lately branched into non-objective image-forming. This is born out of a desire to move beyond the limitations of the domination of the object/subject relationship and the hierarchy it enforces. Her recent study of sacred geometry – especially the work of Keith Critchlow, ancient perennial philosophers, workshops undertaken in Granada on Islamic Art, and study at the Princes School of Traditional Arts in London – have been a major inspiration.

Gaylene has been a self-employed full-time artist, creating works of art using words or images, moving or meditative – ever since she won the coveted Southland Young Contemporary of the Year Award in 1988, the year she was also co-winner of a local major poetry competition, which was judged by the revered poet Hone Tuwhare.

Since then Gaylene has been nominated for awards in film design and film editing. She has had her short films screened internationally in film festivals from Sydney to Berlin to Alaska. Her recent feature film, on the nature of our precious rivers, screened nationally to large audiences with wide reviews, including a guest appearance on RNZ National Radio. She has completed painting commissions for international and local patrons.

Publicly Exhibited Work

2018 Inangahua Gold Launch – Sacred Heart Addington Church Hall
2018 Downscale – Atelier Studio Gallery, Nelson
2018 Earthquakes and Butterflies Two-Person Show – Cardboard Cathedral, Christchurch
2018 Works on Paper – Atelier Studio Gallery, Nelson
2017 ‘Seven Rivers Walking’ Feature Film – NZIFF, Lady Isaac Theatre
2016  In Miniatures – Oxford Street Gallery, Lyttelton
2016  ‘Hikoi’ – Down By the Liffy, Lincoln
2015  Spirits and Cracks – Two-Person Show, Addington Church Hall
2014  In Miniatures – The Tin Palace, Lyttelton
2013  The Heart of Sacred Art – Sacred Heart Church, Addington
2012 ‘Mobile Unit’ Short Film – New Zealand International Film Festival, and others.
2005 ‘Mothers Day’ Short Film – Wellington Fringe Film Festival
2003 ‘Holes of History’ Short Film – Wellington Fringe Film Festival
2002 ‘RollCall’ Music Video – NZ Music Video Awards, Wellington
1996 ‘Laura Paints’ Stage Play – Globe Theatre, Dunedin
1995 ‘Prison of Infinite Space’ Multimedia Installation – Dunedin Public Art Gallery
1993 ‘Black Umbrella’ Multimedia – Zenith Cafe
1993 ‘Salome’ Video Art – Sammy’s Nightclub
1991 Otago Polytechnic School of Art – Graduate Exhibition
1988 Southland Young Contemporary of the Year – Award Winner

Bachelor of Arts – Art History, English and Film, 1996
University of Otago, Dunedin, NZ

Diploma in Fine Arts – Computer Art, 1991
Dunedin School of Art, Otago Polytechnic, NZ


Christchurch, New Zealand
Kia Ora

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