Barbara Bolt


Barbara Bolt is a practising artist and art theorist who lectures at the Victorian College of Arts and Melbourne Conservatorium of Music at the University of Melbourne. Her practice investigates the material possibilities of painting in a digital age and the relationship between painting and light.

Her publications include two monographs Art Beyond Representation: The Performative Power of the Image (2004) and Heidegger Reframed: Interpreting Key Thinkers for the Arts (2011) and three co-edited publications, Practice as Research: Approaches to Creative Arts Enquiry (2007) with Estelle Barrett and Sensorium: Aesthetics, Art, Life (2007) with Felicity Coleman, Graham Jones and Ashley Woodward and the forthcoming edited anthology of writings Carnal Knowledges: Towards a “New Materialism” through the Arts (co-edited with Estelle Barrett, I.B.Tauris).

She maintains a strong dialogue between practice and theory. Publications such as ‘Whose Joy?: Giotto, Yves Klein and neon blue’ (2011), ‘Unimaginable happenings: material movements in the plane of composition’ (2010), ‘Rhythm and the performative power of the index: lessons from Kathleen Petyarre’s paintings’ (2006), ‘Shedding light for the matter’ (2000) and ‘Im/pulsive practices: painting and the logic of sensation’ (1997) have emerged from this dialogue. In 2008/9 she was part of a BBC World Service/Slade School of Art project A View from Here, which led to the production of the DVD production Neon Blue.

She is currently on the executive of the international Society for Artistic Research (SAR), which produces the Journal of Artistic Research (JAR), is an inaugural board member of the Studio Research and is a member of the editorial board of Australian Art Education.  She exhibits with Catherine Asquith Gallery in Melbourne.

VCA research interests include:

1) The Art, Social and Spatial Practice (ASSP) Cluster seeks to investigate the potential of both the material and social production of art as object, performance, spatial practice or relational experience. The cluster will foster cross-disciplinary research dialogue and opportunities for collaboration. It addresses the spatial and social relevance of context central to contemporary arts practice and art in public and institutional spaces.

2) The Moving image Narrative (MIN) Cluster is a practice‐based research group, that investigates the power of moving image narratives in contemporary life. It explores questions such as: What does it mean to tell stories through time? How, why, to whom and by whom are these stories told? The cluster draws together a host of established and emerging film makers, artists, academics and industry professionals.

3) The Matters of the Body (MOB) Cluster engages with culture’s capacity to communicate material conditions of gender, sexuality, feminism, trans and queerness. The cluster focuses its research on questions of the representation of gender and sexual identity in historical and contemporary arts practices. It produces individual and collaborative creative research outputs advancing knowledge in the areas of gender, sexuality, queerness and conditions of embodied identity.