Work of emerging Irish artist forms part of exhibition

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An emerging Northern Irish artist is making waves on the scene, following a very successful exhibition in Belfast recently. Kyle Barnes’ realist work was part of the ‘Against The Grain’ event which took place at the Canvas Galleries in Belfast, and which also featured pieces by two other artists.

Their ultimate aim was to reverse the canon that is abstract, and look at a reappraisal of contemporary figurative art. The exhibition was well-attended with art enthusiasts travelling from all over Ireland to view the work on display. Such was the demand that the gallery was forced to keep its doors open to the public an extra hour on launch night.

Kyle, who is 23-years-old and a graduate of the University of Ulster at Belfast where he currently works, is busy forging a career in the industry. He told me the opportunity to exhibit in such a prestigious gallery has enhanced his profile so much. And he said he is hopeful for the future, hoping to make a career of what he loves doing most.

“It was a great event getting the opportunity to showcase my work. We’ve had a lot of positive feedback from the exhibition so watch this space,” he added.

Kyle has previously exhibited at the Burnavon in Cookstown, Co Tyrone, with work from his Dead Ringers range, which takes an unusual look at celebrities. Working in oil paint, his work is figuratively based, taking the form of ‘movie stills’ aimed at portraying people in a natural moment, capturing expression and overall mood. He is concerned with composition, often placing his figure off centre and focusing on colours to draw the viewer’s eye in.

A spokesperson for Canvas Galleries said the atmosphere during the exhibition run was fantastic.

“We made the decision to keep the gallery open until 10pm when we saw how many people continued to flow in. It’s always a risk taking on emerging artists; nonetheless we knew we had some fresh new talent when art collectors were snapping up the work before the show had officially opened.”

Kyle also made a positive impact on organisers and he has been invited to continue showing with Canvas Galleries for the foreseeable future.


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