Kerry Barrett is an Irish artist, born in co. Cavan, Ireland. She is currently studying a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Contemporary Art at GMIT. She is in her fourth and final year. Kerry lives in Cavan where she is surrounded by a rural landscape which influences her work. Her early artistic influences were the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist painters. Kerry was first introduced to their style in school and quickly became enamoured with their loose brushwork and vivid colours. Kerry also has some contemporary art influences, such as Ian McKeever, David Stegmann, and Marlene Dumas. Dumas had such an impact that Kerry began making looser, more confident ink drawings. Her most recent works explore how mental health can impact and be explored through a creative practice. This direction was brought about by Kerry being diagnosed with anxiety and OCD. Her aim is to use her creative practice as an effective outlet for her mental health, and to allow her anxiety and OCD to become a rich source for making art.
My current work looks at how mental health can be explored and expressed through a creative practice. Acrylic paint, ink and digital editing are used to create these. The inspiration for these works has come from my own anxiety and OCD. My mental health is expressed in my work through creating black and white landscapes with a variety of words which relate to my own personal experience with mental disorders. My OCD causes me to check and re-check things several times. I worked this into my creative process. Once the painting is done, I then photograph the piece and then edit it digitally on my laptop. When the image is printed, I then rework it again with paint or ink, and re-edit it digitally.
Many contemporary artists have influenced this work, such as Ian McKeever and David Stegmann, but the most influential was Marlene Dumas. I used to make drawings with ink in a very deliberate and controlled way. Then I saw how Dumas works. She soaks the page and allows the ink to pool and run over the paper, surrendering a huge amount of control over the outcome of the work. Adopting a similar technique has loosened my work while also challenging my anxiety as surrendering control is something I struggle with due to my mental health.