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Ashburton Art Gallery

327 West St

Ashburton | 7700

P | 03 308 1133

E |

Gallery Hours

Open Daily: 10am - 4pm

Wednesday: 10am - 7pm

Closed Good Friday, Anzac Morning and Christmas day



Artist Chat – Gaylene Barnes

August 19, 2021

The most difficult part of COVID-19 lockdowns for the Gallery staff is the idea that the fantastic exhibitions and artworks on display can’t be seen by our community. We decided to check-in on the artists who currently have exhibitions on at the Gallery to see what they were up to and how they were coping. Currently, the Gallery has the nine-channel video installation by Gaylene Barnes called Duration, in which Gaylene spends eight-hour days filming and observing animals in their environment. The staff at the Gallery have all been missing the energetic bees, the cheeky chickens and ducklings, and the mooing cows. We are happy to see that Gaylene is still keeping an eye on them.

When the ‘beep beep’ alert went out that New Zealand was entering a snap Level Four lockdown due to COVID-19 on August 17th, Gaylene was in her painting studio. This was auspicious, as Gaylene was on-site to collect the necessary artistic bits and bobs to take home.

Gaylene is seeing out lockdown on her farm. Her current project is working on the 2.05 draft of her feature screenplay Being With Cows. Details of the screenplay are under wraps, but the picture below gives a sneak peek into the evolution of the script.

Image Credit: Being With Cows. Supplied by Gaylene Barnes. August 2021.


Gaylene’s creativity expands from the studio into the kitchen. The household’s first lockdown dinner was a cooked chicken infused with rosemary oil, kombucha, and honey.

Martin, Gaylene’s husband, is in the process of making a batch of mead. The honey was harvested from their lovely bees, which are featured in the exhibition Duration at Ashburton Art Gallery. The big question is what flavour the mead will be this time around, as the taste varies with each new batch.

Image Credits: Homemade Mead. Supplied by Gaylene Barnes. August 2021.


Suffice to say, Gaylene and Martin are living off the land, and utilising resources from their farm. For now, Gaylene will be working from her office on the farm, much like the Gallery team. We look forward to welcoming you back to the Gallery when alert levels change and restrictions ease.

For now, take care and stay safe, and possibly stretch those creative muscles – either artistically or in the kitchen, or however you see fit!

Image Credit: Gaylene’s Office Space. Supplied by Gaylene Barnes. August 2021.