Programme: Art - PhD/MPhil

Start date: September 2012

Mode of study: Full time


Tess Barnard is exploring different constructions of the realm of evil by art and science, and the ways in which these discourses, and their overlap, can be used productively by artists.

Working in the context of art, Tess was fascinated and frustrated to discover its existing dialogue with evil frequently alienated her, unlike its scientific and philosophical counterparts. Art practitioners and theoreticians focused time and again on the subject through accumulated symbolism and aesthetics, thus allowing antiquated attitudes on the role of art to limit their scope.

Tess holds the belief that art is the great commentator, documenter, philosopher and surveyor of society, canvassing subliminal and explicit fears, desires, preoccupations and obsessions. Her intention is to navigate and elucidate the dialogue between art and evil, using a combination of science and philosophy.

Her current research interests encompass the subjects of fairytales, the Gothic and Uncanny, serial killing, psychopathology, and face processing.

Within the subject of fairytales she is exploring the adult/child relationship; its codes, culture and associations with oral, chirographic and visual language and traditions. Notions surrounding the culture of fear and the Other are also being investigated.

Tess’ work on the Gothic and Uncanny focuses on themes of mirroring, the Double, and repetition; as well as the role of landscape, ruins and haunted houses.

The subjects of serial killing and psychopathology have led her to review ideas on the body,  and machines; and the relationship between serial killing, language and writing.

Her most recent research into face processing and facial composites considers themes of memory and language; with a particular focus on possible connections between the science of face processing and the construct of the bogeyman.

Tess’ research findings on these subjects will be expressed through a combination of writing and practice.

Biography, presentations and exhibitions

Tess Barnard attended the College of Fine Art (University of New South Wales) in Australia, where she majored in printmaking. She was awarded a Bachelor of Fine Art (1st class honours) in 2008.

In 2010 Tess relocated to the UK to study at the Glasgow School of Art, where she was awarded a Masters of Communication Design in 2012.


‘Contemporary art discourse on adolescent sexuality; a study of the Henson case’ paper presentation at the Erotica, Pornography and the Obscene in Europe conference, University of Warwick, UK. 10 - 12 April, 2013.

‘Bad Likeness; memory, language and the criminal facial composite’ poster presentation at The 4th International Illustration Symposium: Science, Imagination and the Illustration of Knowledge, Oxford University Museum of Natural History and Pitt Rivers Museum, UK. 7 - 8 November, 2013.


Selected for and exhibited in the Hatched ‘08 National Graduate Show at the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts, Western Australia. 11 April - 25 May 2008.

Silk + Sand: Chinese and Australian Prints. Ivan Dougherty Gallery, Sydney,  6 March - 12 April, 2008. Central Academy of Fine Arts, China, December 2008.

Glasgow School of Art Postgraduate Degree Show. The Lighthouse, Glasgow. 15 - 29 September, 2012.