Anne Meredith Barry
"One of the many things that fascinates me about making paintings is that I'm dealing with the juxtaposition of opposites - concerns that are formal, conceptual, technical, aesthetic, thoroughly pre-planned, intuitive and haphazard – so that I must constantly adjust my ways of thinking and doing"Excerpt from artist statement in Anne Meredith Barry: Newfoundland Work exhibition publication, organized by Memorial University Art Gallery, 1991.
Anne Meredith Barry was born in Toronto, Ontario, in 1932. At an early age Barry expressed an interest in taking art lessons. Her mother, who encouraged her children to discover their own interests, opted to work a part-time job in order to send Barry to a private school that balanced conventional schoolwork with art instruction.
In 1954, following her graduation from the Ontario College of Art, Barry started painting on a regular basis. In the years to follow, she also married and began a family. A career success came in 1969, when she was included in the prestigious City of Montreal Art Exhibition.
Barry took part in several community art development programs as both artist and teacher, including the Outports Arts Foundation which led her to Newfoundland in 1971. The rugged landscape of Newfoundland so intrigued her that after returning to Toronto, she continued visiting Newfoundland to paint, make prints, and instruct workshops for Memorial University Extension Service and St. Michael's Printshop. In the coming decades, she led workshops across Canada, being very active in art outreach programs, particularly in Ontario and British Columbia.
In 1986, when St. Michael's Printshop was relocated from the Avalon Peninsula's Southern Shore to St. John's, Barry and her husband, John, bought and refurbished the original printshop building in St. Michael's and moved to Newfoundland permanently.
In the years since, Barry has contributed much to the arts community in Newfoundland, concentrating on both painting and printmaking. Barry's work is often described as distinctive, bold, and colourful – presenting the land as she sees it, not just as it is.
In 1998, the Art Gallery of Newfoundland and Labrador organized Down North: A Coastal Journey, an exhibition of prints, mixed media works and paintings on paper. The exhibition was based on Barry's 1993 coastal voyage on the Northern Ranger, on which she sailed from Lewisporte, Newfoundland north along the Labrador coast as far as Nain. Down North was circulated nationally by the Blackwood Gallery, Erindale College, University of Toronto.
Throughout her career, Barry has extensively exhibited her artwork in solo and group shows both internationally and within Newfoundland and across Canada. Among the most notable of these exhibitions, her work travelled to the Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts in Taiwan as part of the exhibition True North: The Landscape Tradition in Contemporary Canadian Art, curated by David Liss in 1999.
Barry received an honorary doctorate from Memorial University of Newfoundland in 1998. Her work can be found in private and public collections including the Art Gallery of Newfoundland and Labrador's Permanent Collection; the Art Gallery of Whitehorse, Yukon Territory; Emily Carr College of Art and Design, Vancouver, BC; Tom Thomson Memorial Art Gallery, Owen Sound, Ontario; Artists for Kids Trust, North Vancouver, BC; and the Governor-General of Canada's Collection.