Orla Barry is both visual artist and shepherd. She lived in Brussels for sixteen years and now lives and works on the south coast of rural Wexford where she runs a successful pedigree Lleyn flock alongside her art practice. Barry writes, makes performances, video and sound installations.
Her work focuses on language, both written and spoken, as well as its visual deconstruction and displacement— via frequently associative techniques. Fiction, auto ethnography and oral history are blended to reflect on the culture of disconnection from the natural environment and the boundaries of art and the rural everyday.
Barry plays with the fractured relationship between agriculture, gender and the natural world. But her work also deals with the materiality of words and approaches to writing and speaking to accentuate this physical and embodied understanding of language as visual form.
She has recently had performances at WoWmen Festival KAAI (2020) Playground, Museum M & TAZ, Ostend (2019) Performatik 17,Brussels. Crawford Art Gallery, Cork, Argos, Brussels TBG&S, Dublin. She has also performed at The Project Arts Centre, Dublin, The South London Gallery & Tate Modern, London, If I cant dance, Amsterdam. and De Appel in Amsterdam.
She has also had solo shows at MuZee, Ostend (2019). Quetzal Art Centre, Portugal (2017, with Rui Chafes), Mothers Tankstation, Dublin (2014), CCB, Museu Bernardo, Lisbon (2011, with Rui Chafes), Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin (2006), SMAK Ghent (2005), Camden Arts Centre London (2005), and W139 Amsterdam (2005), Argos, Brussels (2002). She has taken part in Manifesta 2, 39th EVA international and in group shows such as A Growing Concern at the RHA (2022). She has been awarded the prize of the Palais de Beaux Arts in the ‘Prix de la Jeune Peinture Belge’ in 2003 and was shortlisted for the Glen Dimplex Prize in 1999.