Gareth Barlow was born and grew up in the Hutt Valley of Wellington. His art reflects the love of a culture he’s been surrounded by his entire life. Through family, friends, neighbours, and teachers, Gareth was encouraged to follow a journey of discovery and connection, a journey now expressed through his work.
Gareth has been a practicing carver for many years and is one of New Zealand’s most recognisable and respected bone carvers. Through his learnings about all elements related to whakairo, Gareth uses myths and philosophies around the art, and the Māori culture in general, to help influence and shape his painting practice. It demonstrates his own unique path, although at the same time recognising how we all connect together. Everyone. And everything.
As an artist, Gareth has been warmly accepted by Māori, who have ultimately become his biggest advocates. Even though his paintings reflect a Pākehā exploring the concepts and traditions of a beautiful, unique culture, his work resonates with people globally.
Gareth has been a finalist in a number of high-profile art awards in New Zealand and Australia, including the prestigious Wallace Art Awards in 2020. He has also been a finalist in the last two Adam Portraiture Prizes in 2018 and 2020, securing runner-up and third place respectively in the People’s Choice award. His carvings have been on public display at various museums in New Zealand, including Te Papa, Auckland, and Rotorua Museums. Today, most of his carvings are commissioned privately by Māori for family taonga, a process that he believes he is truly blessed to be part of. His paintings and carvings can be found in private collections in New Zealand, Australia, Europe, and North America.
Gareth’s art journey ultimately focuses around an old Te Arawa proverb, ‘In this land, the past, present and future move as one’.