Stephen Appleby-Barr’s fantasy-filled artistic practice brings together influences from the history of art and literature, his European travels, and his community of friends who gather around his studio. His work draws inspiration from a parade of sources ranging from Florentine Renaissance architecture, Dutch still-life painting, Spanish Court portraiture, and stage and costume design. Even the smallest of objects in Appleby-Barr’s works — from tiny clay figurines and tea sets to piled-up espresso cups and cloves of garlic — are conjurers of inquiry. In preparation for his paintings, Appleby-Barr constructs small sculptures and architectural maquettes to position his characters in other-worldly three-dimensional space. However, he emphasises that he does not seek to represent an “other world;” rather, he shines a light on the imperceptible worlds concealed within ours.

Born in 1981 in Toronto, Stephen Appleby-Barr is currently based in London, England. His work has been exhibited and collected in Canada, the United States and Europe. Appleby-Barr’s remarkable facility extends to printmaking. He has created several etchings printed with world-renowned Master Printer, Gregory Burnet of Burnet Editions, and published by Nicholas Metivier Gallery. In 2023, a solo exhibition of work by Stephen Appleby-Barr was presented at the Canada House Gallery in London, UK. Running concurrently, Appleby-Barr’s Correspondence, curated by Daniel Strong at the Grinnell College Museum of Art in Iowa marked the artist’s first major institutional exhibition in the United States.