Barbara McKay: Sacred

National Exhibition Register

  • Dunville Loop
    Barbara McKay Dunville Loop, 2001
    Acrylic on canvas
    174cm x 330cm
    Image Credit
    Courtesy of the artist

About the exhibition

Barbara McKay is one of Australia’s truly significant female abstract expressionist artists. Acclaimed by renowned American art critic Clement Greenberg but largely overlooked in her homeland, Sacred reveals McKay’s commitment to immersing herself wholly into the gestural expression of the world and environment around her. This is McKay’s first retrospective exhibition and spans more than 50 years of committed art practice.

In 1956 McKay began 5 years of study at the National Art School and was taught by artists such as John Passmore, John Olsen, Godfrey Miller, Ralph Balson, Douglas Dundas and Dorothy Thornhill. After an introduction to a broad range of disciplines, McKay specialised in painting for her diploma. She graduated in 1960 and married fellow National Art School student and sculptor, Ian McKay. The pair travelled extensively overseas and this was instrumental in McKay’s perception of the unique qualities of the Australian landscape and light. In the 1970s McKay began participating in solo shows and was hung in the Wynne Prize twice.

A fateful meeting in 1979 with renowned American art critic Clement Greenberg sparked a 17-year friendship and correspondence in which Greenberg was steadfastly encouraging. McKay visited New York to live and work between 1981 and 1983 and Greenberg introduced her to an artistic circle that were wholly welcoming including Larry Poons and Helen Frankenthaler.

McKay’s paintings are an evocation of her experiences, recollections and understanding of place, most notably Australia. She does not attempt to represent a view or appearance, rather she recreates the feeling or energy of a place through her own visual language.

Artists and Curator

Rachael Parsons

Barbara McKay

Available Dates and
Exhibition Details

Available dates
01/01/2020 - 01/12/2023
Exhibition size
Between 75-100 sq or running metres
Originating state
Organised by
New England Regional Art Museum
$2,500 (exc. freight)
Web Site
Accompanying materials available
Catalogue/Book, Exhibition Tour Manual, Interpretative/Didactic Panels, Invitations or Invitation Template, Labels, Media Kit
Primary contact
Jennifer Taylor
New England Regional Art Museum
02 6772 5255
Secondary contact
Belinda Hungerford
02 6772 5255
A New England Regional Art Museum touring exhibition