Beauty Of The Beast | GANG GANG gallery


Date(s) - 21/08/2020 - 21/09/2020
All Day





22nd August – Opening Event @ 2pm

GANG GANG gallery

GANG GANG gallery, 206 Main St, Lithgow 2790




Over the last nine months I’ve been working on a series of portrait paintings using goats as my subjects, but with a twist. The paintings are based on people I know.

Using the principals of human portraiture, I wanted to create a vocabulary of facial expression and features which seem to echo our own physical characteristics and personality traits. Ones that remind us of ourselves, where the viewer may find that the creatures they are looking at may be somewhat familiar to themselves.
As in the previous animal portraiture work, I have created knitted landscapes as the background, but in this instance, instead of using landscapes that surround me, I have where possible, created landscapes that the people I know live in, or have had a connection to in the past.


For many years I have been intimately involved with farming on family cattle properties in NSW. Just like humans, cows can be social or bloody-minded, sensitive or stubborn, suspicious or nosy. The shape of cows, both individually and as a herd, invite me to play with their forms within the rectangle of canvas or paper. I am also attracted to the texture and rhythm of their hide which seems to mimic the landscape surrounding them. To quote from the first few lines of a poem I wrote:

  • Up close cows are landscapes
  • Those shorthairs on the belly
  • are the grasses of paddocks.


My work aims for a connection with animals, the environment, and the Wiradjuri land I live on. To me, that is where beauty emanates from.

My work is often inspired by personal encounters with nature (lizards, kangaroos, magpies, echidnas, cockatoos etc) on my property at Meadow Flat and my paintings represent a spiritual connection with the land and the beauty of nature.

Like Monet’s haystacks and water lilies, I usually do a series of paintings on each subject, tweaking the work, making subtle changes to capture different moments in the life cycle of the subject.

For example, My lizard paintings were inspired by an encounter in my front garden, when I returned home one day to see a blue tongue lizard give birth to a handful of babies! These works represent life cycles, birth and renewal.

My cockatoo paintings came about after rescuing a baby Sulphur Crested Cockatoo that we named Billy. He had been severely injured by a hawk and could not fly. My family nursed him back to health until he was finally able to re-join his crackle. I have used Billy’s struggles to represent the environment and he is a symbol of hope for a beautiful future.


I paint because I have no other choice if I want my life to have purpose. This is a recent discovery for me, a very happy one.

As a painter I like to create paintings with a soul, so connections between a painting and the observer can be made, and emotions can be conveyed. I enjoy the goodness in the world and I don’t enjoy the pain in it bit I know that beauty can be found even amoungst ugly and painful things, it’s about perspective, and that’s why I chose stray dogs as my subject for this exhibition, to me the convey some of their pain that make us sensible towards them, and also their infinite beauty.

GAV BARBEY – Painter

Gav Barbey is a Melbourne born Multimedia Artist.

Eccentric with his art, Gav began his journey as a young dyslexic male in the 70’s. “I always will gravitate to the theatre – I think it’s where I do my best work. It’s all encompassing and a multitude of other disciples can reside there.”

Gav has had a very colourful life, spending time overseas in countries such as America, South America and Africa. With his work he is able to explore his creative expressions in the places novices may not find commercially appealing. He clearly states a loathing for the business end of the Art world; “


Born in North Yourshire, England in 1948 and the son of a huntsman, his love of horses and hounds have played a big part in his life. A self taught artists, this love of animals and the country way of life shows through in his paintings. Barry was granted full membership of the Society of Equestrian Artists (S.E.A) in the UK in 1997.

He has exhibited extensively, including Christies, and won several prestigious prizes in the UK. Since coming to Australia in 2007 his love of this country is evident in his paintings. To exhibit in Beauty of the Beast gives Barry an opportunity to show his predominantly equestrian art work in a well known local gallery.


Plants and animals have always been the surface on which humans have etched the foundations of culture, sustenance, and identity. For myself, natural forms are a continual source of fascination and deep aesthetic pleasure. At first glance my work explores the more modern prosaic concept of nature: a source of serene nostalgia but this is balanced with the more visceral experience of ‘wildness’ as remarkably alien and indifferent. Upon closer inspection of each ‘creature’ the viewer may discover a frieze on which themes as familiar as domestication and as abrasive as domination fall into sharp relief. These qualities are not only present in the final work but are fleshed out in the process of building. Each sculpture is constructed using an additive technique, layered from inside to out by an accumulation of innumerable tiny components. Many of these components are microcosmic representations of plants, animals and objects. Some are beautiful, some are grotesque and some are fantastical. The singularity of each sculpture is the sum total of its small narrative structures.
Over time I find my sculptures are evolving to be of greater emotional presence by using less physical substance: I subtract more and more to increase the negative space. The element of weight, which has always seemed so fundamentally tied to the medium of sculpture, is stripped away and the laws of gravity are no longer in full effect. In reading the stories contained in each piece we are forced to acknowledge their emotional gravity cloaked as it is in the light, the feminine, the fragile, and the unknowable.
Counter intuitively, while there is an appearance of complexity in design, there is a simplicity in execution. Each detail, down to the finest filigree, is free-modeled by hand. Within each piece precision is balanced by chaos. The overarching aesthetic knocks on the door of realism, yet the hand of the artist is never intentionally erased; brush strokes and fingerprints abound. Even the narratives themselves harbor a degree of anarchy as they are rarely formally structured. Rather, I seek to achieve flow states while working to create a fluid progression of unconscious imagery. That imagery, as manifest in tiny ephemeral shapes and beings, forms relationships and dialogues organically. In the spirit of surrealism, this psychological approach to artistic expression creates a rich network of personal archetypes and motifs that appear to occupy their own otherworldly space. Within this ethereal menagerie, anthrozoology meets psychoanalysis as themes of natural beauty, curiosity, colonialism, domestication, death, growth, visibility and wildness are explored.