My innate curiosity about the ecological and social history of specific places drives my practice. I strive to foster awareness of environmental change by engaging viewers in unexpected visual hypotheses, offering novel lenses through which to consider the impact of human action on our surroundings, both locally and on a larger scale.
My work titled Scenes is a series of long-exposure photographic images of sculptural structures built on-site in specific landscapes. I construct these tableaus by immersing myself in a given place, researching and instinctively reading the terrain, and then marking the site using foreign light sources and physical processes. This insertion of the artificial calls attention to and emphasizes environmental blight. In the final prints, lights and sculptural alterations appear as intrusions. Conceptually the work is situated at the intersection of Land Art, Staged Photography, and Minimalist Sculpture. Using shapes, lines, light, geometry and especially color, my photographs reflect human disturbances, metaphorically suggesting how society divides and surveys landscapes or how humans force their will on the natural environment. By imposing flat and abrasive color (or light) onto a site, the resulting photographic prints contrast human interference with nature’s visually rich, wide tonal range of ambient hues. Throughout these Scenes, I encourage the viewer to reflect upon land use, and the many ways humans have cultivated, intersected, and propagandized the land to fit their needs.
All images and text © Barry Underwood
By Barry Underwood