Orla Barry is both visual artist and shepherd. She lived in Brussels for sixteen years and now runs a flock of pedigree Lleyn sheep on the coast of rural Wexford. A leitmotif running through her recent work is the human disconnection from the natural environment. Barry writes, and 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, she researches the semantics of her mother tongue and its cultural imbedding and implications. Her work is strongly poetic and lyrical, crossing a wide variety of media, evoking non-linear narratives, undercurrents of emotion and dealing with themes such as linguistic intoxication, sexual identity and more recently our interdependence and disconnection from the natural environment. 

She has recently had performances at Performatik 17, 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. The Playground Festival, STUK, Leuven and De Appel in Amsterdam.

She has also had solo shows at Quetzal Art Centre, Portugal (2017, with Rui Chafes), Mothers Tankstation (2014, Dublin), 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 and in group shows such as Sense and Sensibility in Sao Paulo, Some Parts of this World in Helsinki. 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.