Ali Barker Merseyside, United Kingdom
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My work expresses music and sound in colour. I create abstract paintings, mixed-media work and installations inspired by my personal experiences of sound-colour synaesthesia – when I listen to music, each note of the musical scale is perceived as a specific colour. I am due to complete my MA in Fine Art in Autumn 2019. I am a musician in my spare time, playing violin and viola in local orchestras.

My experiences of synaesthesia and my musical background both influence my work – I use a fixed palette of colours, and the musical repertoire I perform often influences my choice of music to work from (although for commissions the music is usually chosen by the client). There is also an emphasis on the use of process in my work, evident in my geometric paintings transcribing music or recorded sounds. My current work explores layering themes, rhythm, pattern, and the complexity of music, creating outcomes that I consider represent the essence of the original music, yet outwardly appear visually abstract.

Originally from Sheffield, I moved to Merseyside in 1995. My work has been exhibited across the North West, including a solo show in Liverpool in 2016 and in various group shows; in 2018 I won the Student Prize at the Lancashire Open Exhibition, held at Chapel Gallery, Ormskirk.

I am also inspired by skylines and other structures in the landscape, from complex cityscapes to rock formations or man-made structures such as a bridge dominating a horizon; however I choose to omit much of the detail and represent these as simplified forms. In 2011 I won Merseytravel’s Art on the Network competition ‘Design a New Skyline’, for the Queensway (Birkenhead) Tunnel. My ‘Liverpool Composition’ and ‘Wirral Composition’ designs were made into murals on the new cladding, approximately 5m high and 22m wide, and are public artworks on permanent display at each end of the tunnel.


Fugue (Synaesthesia 130), Acrylic inks on unstretched canvas, 2018


The Year 2016 (Synaesthesia 97), Acrylic on canvas, 2016-17, £650

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For sale

John Williams: The Raiders March (Synaesthesia 133), Acrylic on canvas, 2018

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Preludio (Synaesthesia 136), Acrylic on wood panel, 2018



The last 1min49s of Grendel (Synaesthesia 100), Acrylic on canvas, 2017



Brandenburg 3D (Synaesthesia 134), Knitting wool, push pins on MDF boards (temporary installation), 2018


Recording 2017 (Synaesthesia 126), Cotton twine, acrylic inks, 2018


Trio (Synaesthesia 146) and Phrase (Synaesthesia 147), Acrylic and gesso on MDF, 2019


Previous projects


Sefton Open Exhibition

13/04/2019 to 11/05/2019

Three paintings selected for the 93rd Sefton Open Exhibition 2019. My work has regularly been exhibited at the Sefton Open since 2015. Clockwise from top left: John Williams: The Raiders March (Synaesthesia 133), Take Five (Synaesthesia 108), Elgar: Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1, 'Land of Hope and Glory' (Synaesthesia 111).

The Atkinson, Southport Details

Lancashire Open Exhibition 2018

21/07/2018 to 09/09/2018

Two works selected for this Open exhibition, one of which (Fugue) won the Student Prize.

Chapel Gallery, Ormskirk Details

Four-Dimensional Colour solo exhibition

10/09/2016 to 24/09/2016

Solo exhibition of paintings. A combination of works representing translations of daily sounds and expressive works in response to pieces of music performed throughout 2016. 'The Year 2016' was a work in progress; I visited the gallery daily during the exhibition period to add new daily sounds/coloured squares to the painting.

dot-art Gallery, Liverpool Details
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