Barker Kit, (1916-1988)

Gordon 'Kit' Barker was born in 1916 of English and Irish parents. He was a self-taught painter influenced by surrealism in his formative years 1934-36.

He served in the army 1942-45 and married the novelist Katherine Talbot (Ilsa Barker) in 1948. They lived in Cornwall from 1947 to 1948, and were involved with the artists' colony in St Ives; they associated with Bryan Wynter, Peter Lanyon, and Patrick Heron amongst others. Kit took part in the third exhibition at 'The Crypt' of The New Gallery St Ives in August 1948.

In 1949 they moved to the United States. While in America Kit lectured at the Skidmore College New York and taught at Alton Artists Guild Illinois. During their time in the USA, Kit and Ilse stayed at Yaddo 'artists' community in Saratoga Springs, New York. They moved to California where for a short period Kit taught at the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco, alongside Hassel Smith, Elmer Bishoff and David Park. In 1952 they returned to Sussex, England where Kit lived and worked until his death in 1988.

Major one-man exhibitions:

1950 Weyhe Gallery, New York
1951 Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco
1951 St. Louis Artists' Guild, St Louis
1957 Hanover Gallery, London
1959 Waddington Galleries, London
1960 Waddington Galleries, Montreal
1961 Waddington Galleries, London
1964 Waddington Galleries, London
1965 Waddington Galleries, Montreal
1966 Waddington Galleries, London
1967 Waddington Galleries, Montreal
1970 Arthur Tooth & Sons, London
1971 Villiers Art Gallery, Sydney, Australia
1972 Toorak Gallery, Melbourne, Australia
1972 Arthur Tooth & Sons, London
1978 Christ's Hospital Arts Centre, Horsham, Sussex
1981 The New Arts Centre, London
1988 Newburg Street Gallery, London
2001 University College Chichester, Otter Gallery, Sussex
2005 The Canon Gallery Petworth, Sussex
Barker had regular one man exhibitions throughout the 1960s and 1970s at: The David Paul Gallery, Chichester, Sussex; Reid Gallery, Guildford, Surrey and Century Galleries, Henley on Thames.

Major group exhibitions:

1948 The Crypt Gallery, St Ives, Cornwall
1948 Downings Bookshop, St Ives, Cornwall
1948 St George's Gallery, London
1949 Durlacher Gallery, New York, NY
1951 Whitney Museum of Art, New York, NY
1952 Philadelphia Art Alliance, PA
1953 Art Institute of Chicago, IL (Drawings from 12 countries)
1954 Institute of Contemporary Arts, London (Eight Painters)
1957 John Moores Exhibition, Liverpool
1959 Contemporary Art Society, London (Recent Acquisitions)
1960 Irish Exhibition of Living Art
1960 Birmingham City Art Gallery (Contemporary British Painters)
1960 International Gallery, Chicago, IL
1961 Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester, NY (Two Painters)
1962 Festival of Arts, Battle, Sussex
1967 Worthing Municipal Art Gallery, Sussex (Two Painters)
1969 Camden Arts Centre, London (English Traditional Landscape)
1973 Paintings in Hospitals, London
1974 Festival of the City of London, London
1976 Madden Gallery, London
1981 New Arts Centre, London
1985 Parkin Gallery, London (Cornwall 1925 -1975)
1987 Questra Gallery, Kingston upon Thames, SU
1990 Birch and Conran Gallery, London


'Contemporary British Art', Herbert Read, Penguin Books.
St Ives 1939-64 Twenty Five Years Of Painting, Sculpture And Pottery, Tate Gallery Publications.
Kit Barker, Cornwall 1947-1948 Recollections Of Painters And Writers, Katherine Talbot, The Book Gallery, (Katherine Talbot was the pen name of Barker's wife, Ilse.)

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