Cleveland Institute of Art: Faculty Profile – Barry Underwood

Cleveland Institute of Art: Faculty Profile – Barry Underwood


[music playing] What’s important about artwork
is changing people’s minds, changing people’s perceptions. My hope is that
there’s something there that could act as a means
to open a discussion. All photographic
images have no meaning. They’re all empty. We imply meaning into
these pieces of art. And it’s through culture. It’s through experiences. It’s through cognitive
means of understanding at which we construct
an image to communicate. Part of what I look
for in a landscape is a design component. Sometimes it would
take me a few days to build the objects that
would go into the installation. I have drawings. And then it could take
several years for me to find the location
for that idea, or I’ll find a location,
like at Horseshoe Lake where I’ll have my eye on it
for a couple of years. And then I’ll figure
out what I can interject into that environment. The high aesthetic
is on purpose. I like to have it be a
little nonconfrontational. It’s not an oil spill
leaching out into the water. It’s just an abstraction
to mimic that. I’ve been lucky enough
to have my work shown through magazines,
and blogs, and books. The Cleveland Clinic in town
has always been a supporter. I was fortunate enough to
make a series for the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland. I’m always learning new
tools and new techniques that I can bring back
for the students. The education is
never really ended. With teaching, I’m just sharing
the knowledge that I have, the experiences
that I can share. I’ve been influenced by the
photographers and artists who have come before me. When I see people making
work similar to this, it’s rewarding. I think the joy comes
from the building, going into the installation and
building it, and then seeing it. Kind of goes back to being
a kid, playing in the words, building a fort, doing
something imaginative. That’s I think where the
strongest joy comes from.

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