Katy Barrell


For Katy Barrell the contours of the cliffs, the field patterns, the location of boundary gates and the routes for bringing the cows in for milking were second nature.

Born in 1966 in Freedom Fields, she was reared within an energetic and creative family on a windswept dairy farm high on the North Cornwall Coast.

Searching for the balance of abstraction and metaphor to describe experience of place she trained at Half Acre, Boscastle with Carole Vincent, Falmouth School of Art and gained a BA Hons Degree at Bradford and Ilkley School of Art and Design.

Whilst continuing to paint and exhibit, she taught in schools in Cleveland, Middlesex, Devon and Powys.

Her paintings are held in collections within the United Kingdom, Belgium, Luxembourg, California, Canada and Australia.

The lie of the land and the stories of place are the visual and lyrical inspiration for her paintings.

Artist's statement

Finding a painting is finding a place.

To be faithful to place, a journey is taken,

studying maps and exploring, walking, listening, watching and drawing.

The shapes and tones cut into the memory with unity and simplicity

to reach the depths of the landscape.

The movement of space and line, where elements touch and part focus

to evoke intimacy or distance, deep sound or silence, rest or turbulence.

Within moments, forms may reveal or mask, hidden histories leave room for imagination.

Fields of colour come together to mirror both the place and the mind,

an enigma that may be calm or discordant, radiant or solemn.

The play of time, season and weather gives a skin of chance to the constant mass.

The light in the evening or after rain heightens and gives an ambivalent suddenness to edges.

The movement of illumination and shadow are the narrative for paradox.

Fleeting sunlight may seem eternal, shadows may seem as corporeal as rock

or earth as kinetic as waves.

The land, sea and sky are unpredictable, ever eroding and evolving.

Paintings of place whether secluded, sheltered, safe, vulnerable, wild or forbidding

induce the viewer to follow a journey beyond the horizon.

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