Trace Blue, 2008 © Barry Underwood
Sous Les Etoiles Gallery is pleased to present Scenes, opening Thursday, May 29, by American landscape installation artist and photographer Barry Underwood. The exhibition marks the photographer’s first solo show in New York City. An Artist’s Talk will also be held on Monday, June 2, 7-8pm.
Rodeo Beach, 2009, © Barry Underwood
Drawing from his early theatrical training, and influenced by historical methods of staged photography and constructed set design, Barry Underwood seeks to transform ordinary, everyday vistas into unique, and often surreal, experiences. « This tension between the familiar and the surreal gives the images a strange power, » Underwood writes. « I fashion these scenes by immersing myself in a place, instinctively reading the landscape, and then altering the site through LED lights, luminescent material, and other photographic effects. In the final prints, lights and alterations appear as intrusions, transforming landscapes into abstract images. »
Both Underwood’s installation process, which uses actual structures and may take several days to complete, and his documentation, employing long exposure times to harness the area’s ambient light, rely on the artist’s ability to harmoniously collaborate with nature as much as disrupt it. « Each photographic image is a dialogue—the result of my direct encounter with nature and history, » the artist explains. « Curiosity about ecological and social history of specific places drives my work. »
His photographs are made in various locations around North America, with many on artist residencies. He has been an artist-in-residence at The Banff Center for the Arts (Canada), I-Park Foundation (CT), Headlands Center for the Arts (CA), The Center for Land Use Interpretation (UT), and The MacDowell Colony (NH).
Blue Ice, 2004, © Barry Underwood
Aurora Green, 2007, © Barry Underwood
Barry Underwood’s work can be found in the collections of The Cleveland Museum of Art (OH), Elton John Photography Collection (Atlanta, GA), The Museum of Fine Arts (Houston), TIAA-CREFF (New York City), and the Rockefeller Family Art Collection (Petaluma, CA), among several others. Barry’s work has also been reviewed in numerous publications, including Color Magazine, the London Times, Spectrum Magazine, Photo+ (Seoul), Picnic Magazine (Tel Aviv), and Vision Magazine (Beijing), as well as featured in Real Simple Magazine. He has been awarded the Creative Workforce Fellowship through the Community Partnership for Arts and Culture (OH), The Cleveland Arts Prize for Visual Arts (OH), and the Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award (OH). Barry Underwood received his Masters in Photography from Cranbrook Academy of Art.