Art Themes

My creative practice is an exploration of the sacred in my lived experience of Port Macquarie's coastal environment represented by a highly developed language of recurring motifs and symbolism. I identify with this place and its community of living beings - animals, people and plant life. I feel connection and belonging here. My home is just three hundred metres from the coast and I spend much of my time in the natural environment. Every day it's different. The sun and waves are different, the animals and people I meet are different and I am different. My paintings are pages in a picture book, a visual story of my being and becoming in this ever-changing littoral environment.

The narrative stories in each canvas are portrayed by motifs that denote the physical space and place that I inhabit - the sun, trees, animals, sea life, water and the energy that permeates it all. They read like a visual book with recurring shapes and forms in my mediated visual expression of life around me.

Both the positive form of an object/subject and the negative space surrounding it are important in my work. During my sculpture studies with Tom Bass I was introduced to the concept of negative space, a concept I've developed in my work to represent the undefined, unseen, mysterious energy that permeates all life. When I look with my artist's eye I sense an energy in addition to what I see, a thickness in the air and in the items of the world, which I interpret as a feeling of wholeness, connectedness and reverence.

Each item in my paintings is significant, sacred and equal, be it negative space, positive space, human, animal or inanimate. There is a perceived equality of all things and their right to existence. This particular way of viewing my environment and process is an expression of my beingness and becoming as I continue to walk, swim, surf and be in this place. As my creative and lived experience evolves, my particular artist way of processing my world becomes richer and more refined. Hence I'm continually coming closer to an understanding of my existence. This for me is a kind of spiritual communion, which could be viewed as a religious ritual where place has become my church. My body of work is a celebration of the depth of connection I experience living life here in Port Macquarie.


Art Practice

I work in oil and acrylic on canvas, enjoying the sensuousness of pushing and blending paint. Drawing is an important part of my practice and I doodle and sketch to flesh out my ideas and lived experience, transferring refined ideas onto canvas.

Part of my practice is to explore my inhabited environment, the littoral region around Port Macquarie, in a physical way through walking, swimming, surfing, collecting objects and being involved in community activities. The shape and form of these cultures and environments are major subjects for my work, which I portray in vibrant colours to emphasis the richness of my experience, and in black and white to highlight form.

I have exhibited in the Port Macquarie and Macleay Valley regions and I run Little Frogwood Gallery in Port Macquarie as a studio/gallery space.


Artists Statement

Imaginings of the local environment form unique stories linked to the history and culture of the people, animals and place.  These narratives are embodied visions that exist beyond what I see with my naked eye or experience through my other senses. They are processed through a personal filter, where emotion is allowed to give in to the moment of experience . . . a type of hypereality.  Story and daily life combine with my own symbolic visual language and are processed through a sense of energetic 'communion' with place.

A pulsating fluid energy embodies my artworks. An energy that aims to explore the sacred through form, colour and movement. This energy is a lived experience of my subjective world represented symbolically, and giving voice to my connection to all-that-is - the undefined, unseen and mysterious energy that permeates all life. In this way I express the sacred experienced in my environment through the interconnections found within and between objects and subjects in the pictorial plane.



Located in Port Macquarie on the beautiful mid-coast of New South Wales, Fran Barratt works in a range of mediums, including painting, drawing, ceramics and sculpture. Her creative practice is entwined with her passion for the local environment and its stories, surfing culture, and the animals and people that inhabit these spaces and places.

Fran has practiced as an artist for over 20 years. She studied visual art and art history at TAFE and trained with sculptor and studio artist Tom Bass (1916-2010) in Sydney, NSW. She currently works in her studio and gallery Little Frogwood Gallery in Port Macquarie surrounded by her own patch of animal-abundant rainforest.


External Links

Fran has been featured in numerous publications. Here are links to articles published online about Fran and her


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