Kate Barry is a Canadian artist currently based on the the unceded, traditional territories of the Coast Salish peoples, xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) nations in Vancouver.
Barry is a performance artist working in drawing, painting and video. She holds a B.F.A. in Studio Art from Emily Carr University of Design (ECU) and an M.F.A. in performance and media from the University of Ottawa (UoO). Her work centres embodied practice; she employs live art methodologies to anchor the body in the work; she performs using her own body as a medium to question the subject-object binary, and the tension this creates. Her work explores the decolonization of the body through the lens of queerness by investigating performance art as a relational practice.
Cyberspace is understood in Barry’s work as a site-specific location outside of the material realm. One of her videos “Vagina Painting” has recieved over 43,000+ views on her YouTube channel. This unexpected and surprising fact has expanded her idea of audience engagement reflecting her interest in the continually shifting role of the viewer.
Barry’s current research interest is queer survival during a global pandemic that combines ancient painting rituals with contemporary video art. Her focus is performance-painting using handmade brushes through a collaboration with the land + body using sticks, metals, hair and other unexpected items. The paintbrushes are used sculpturaly as extensions of her body reenacting prehistoric mark-making techniques. The performance-paintings consider the queer body as a contested, political site that calls into question other site-specific, problematic locations.
Barry identifies as queer-femme. She is cis-female and her gender assignment at birth reflects her inward understanding of her identity. Barry does not take this for granted as she is in deep connection and community with queer, non-binary and Trans folks. Instead, she takes her experience growing up as a femme-lesbian in the 80s, 90s and 2000s as a way to challenge colonial systems of power and abuse. Barry is specifically concerned with heteronormative, and trans-exclusive radical feminist (TERF) thinking. In short, she understands that all hate-speech is rooted in the subject-object binary which is why she continues to break it down through a decolonial, embodied approach to her practice.
Barry has contributed over 20-years to working in artist-run spaces committed to the exhibition of artwork outside the mainstream. She has performed and exhibited in galleries and festivals throughout Canada and internationally, including the National Gallery of Canada, Vancouver Art Gallery, Open Space (Victoria), 7a*11d Festival of Performance Art (Toronto), World Pride Toronto, and the Rider Project (NYC). In addition, she has self-produced work at the Musee d’Orsay (Paris, France) and Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto).
From 2011-2014, Kate Barry was a member of the board of directors for FADO Performance Art Centre (Toronto). She was the project manager for More Caught in the Act: An Anthology of Performance Art by Canadian Women and she worked as the archival and research associate for the book, Wordless: The Performance Art of Rebecca Belmore, 2019. She was also the project lead for the Mount Pleasant Community Art Screen (MPCAS), a large, outdoor, urban screen launched by grunt gallery in 2019. Currently, she is a sessional faculty at Emily Carr University of Art & Design and serves on the board of directors of the Mutual Aid and Reciprocity Fund (MARFEC) at ECU.
From 2013 until 2016, she wrote a popular Blog called Performance Art13 that focused on the Toronto performance art scene from a visual art perspective. Barry has curated several shows most notably, PLACE for the MPCAS, grunt gallery, Vancouver, 2019-2020; Nature Lover:Performance for the Camera, the Fabulous Fringe Film Festival, Durham Region, 2017; 11:45PM: FADO Performance Art Centre’s Emerging Artist Series at Xpace Gallery,2014, and White Wedding to the Snow: Annie Sprinkle and Beth Stephen’s performance art wedding in Ottawa, Canada, 2010.
Kate Barry is represented by Vtape, Toronto, Canada.
PERFORMANCE ARCHIVE: link
CV available on request