Distinguished watercolourist and longtime Barrie resident Ernest Conyers Barker was known for his progressive career that spanned seventy years. Barker was inspired by a variety of sources ranging from the Group of Seven to surrealism to modernist abstraction. Though best known for his stylized landscapes, he also painted contemplative portraits and robust abstractions. This exhibition features watercolours from the MacLaren’s collection that showcase the remarkable breadth of Barker’s artistic output, with a special focus on his intuitive approach to rendering the landscape that surrounded him.
Born in Toronto in 1909, Barker attended Central Technical School and the Ontario College of Art. He has exhibited across Canada, in the United States, England, Australia and New Zealand. His work appears in many major public collections including the Art Gallery of Ontario, the City of Toronto Archives and the MacLaren Art Centre. Barker was a member of the Royal Canadian Academy and the Society of Canadian Artists. Barker lived in Barrie for over thirty years, from 1959 until his death in 2003.