A recurring theme in Barr’s work is the idea of symbolism reflecting an aura of pathos, displacement and insight into contemporary New Zealand life.
Barr’s paintings have been shown in public exhibitions – ‘Tears For Tane’s Children’ at the Whangarei Art Museum and ‘Mind Games, An Exhibition of Surrealism in Aotearoa’ at Hastings City Art Gallery.
Barr’s 2016 exhibition ‘Avian‘ saw him move toward a more contemporary image set, offering an alternative to the historical narrative works for which he is known. This series was a body of work cohesive in a central theme – where he reached out to a spiritual connectedness – unrelated to religion – leaning towards a DNA coding inherent in the forgotten strands of essential mankind.
‘Lore & Behold‘, Barr’s first solo show at ARTIS, sought to define the New Zealand experience in a series of narrative paintings depicting stories of whalers, sailors and early pioneering visitors to this land. Images drew reference from the fictitious to the subjectively factual, weaving stories punctuated with symbolism and iconography to lay bare the stoicism and foibles of a fledgling colonial psyche rapidly assembling through historical events.