Anita Barley (formerly Anita Podwyszynski) has worked as a professional artist for over four decades.
After completion of a Diploma in Graphic Design at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology she commenced work as a botanical illustrator with the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne in 1977, the first person to be appointed to such a role with the historic and prestigious Gardens for more than 90 years. Anita performed this role for sixteen years, working mainly on the illustrated Flora of Victoria project, completing hundreds of coloured and black-and-white plates for this major scientific reference work. She also provided scientific illustrations for taxonomic papers, the Flora of Australia, Government publications and other projects.
Since departing from the botanic gardens in 1992, she has continued to work freelance, providing further illustrations for scientific papers and publications, together with other chosen botanical paintings and commissions. Anita’s special place in the history of botanical art in Australia was recognised in the publication ‘Australia: 300 years of Botanical Illustration’ by Dr Helen Hewson in 1999.
Anita began teaching botanical illustration at Burnley Horticultural College in 1986. She has twice been awarded the Celia Rosser Medal (2002, 2006) in recognition of the quality of her detailed botanical artworks and her sustained contributions to ‘The Art of Botanical Illustration’ exhibitions hosted at the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne.
Having lived at Woodend in country Victoria for 23 years, Anita has recently relocated to Kew Gardens in London where she continues to produce extraordinarily detailed botanical and other nature-themed artwork, including for Kew's scientific papers and Curtis's Botanical Magazine. In October 2013, she was elected a Fellow of the Linnaean Society of London.
In 2016, Anita was awarded the prestigious Jill Smythies Award for Botanical Illustration by the Linnaean Society, London.
Anita Barley has exhibited widely, including:
1989 Ballarat Art Gallery
1992 – 2008 ‘Art of Botanical Illustration’, Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne
1994 Westpac Gallery, Melbourne
1994 Maclelland Gallery, Langwarrin
1996 Gregory River Expedition, Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne
2000-2001 Benalla Art Gallery
2002 ‘Buda’ Castlemaine
2003 State Botanical Collection ‘Nature’s Art Revealed’, Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne
2003 The Mill, Malmsbury, Vic.
2004 Anita Barley at Woodbine Art, Malmsbury, Vic.
2005 Red Box Gallery, Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney
2005 Campaspe House, Woodend
2006 The Masters Exhibition, Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney
2007 ‘Nature in Art’, Woodbine Art, Malmsbury
2008 ‘Nature in Art 2’, Woodbine Art, Malmsbury
2008 Nellie Castan Gallery
2009 ‘Reframing Darwin: Evolution and Art in Australia’, Ian Potter Museum of Art, University of Melbourne
2009 ‘Botanicasia’, Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne.
2010 ‘Botanicals: Environmental Expression in Art’. The Alisa & Isaac Sutton Collection, Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.
2011 ‘The Eternal Order in Nature’, Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne.
2012 ‘The Marvellous and the Singular’. Woodbine Gallery, Malmsbury
2012 ‘Capturing Flora – 300 years of Australian Botanical Art’, Art Gallery of Ballarat
2013 Isaac Sutton Collection at Shirley Sherwood Gallery, Kew Gardens, UK.
2014 ‘Sea, Earth, Sky. Points of Connection’ Woodbine Gallery, Malmsbury
2018 'Plans and Plants of the Temperate House', Shirley Sherwood Gallery, Kew Gardens, UK
2019 'Wild', the Gallery at Green and Stone, London
2021 Summer Exhibition at the Gallery at Green and Stone, London