New Yorkers, you’re in luck! Sous Les Etoiles Gallery has extended landscape installation artist and photographer Barry Underwood’s show another month. You now have until August 2 to see Scenes, a collection of beautiful photographs that show nature like you’ve never seen her before. Drawing from his early theatrical training, Barry constructs these strange and surreal scenes using LED lights. Many of his installations take several days to complete. After they’re created, Barry then uses long exposure to harness the area’s ambient light.
As he explains, “This tension between the familiar and the surreal gives the images a strange power. 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.”
Most of these works are created in locations near artist residencies around the United States and Canada like The Banff Center in Alberta, Canada, The Headlands Center for the Arts, in Sausalito, California, and, most recently, The MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, New Hampshire. Why? As Barry explains to us, “I travel to these places for several reasons. They all have various types of landscape within or near their property. They are organizations that allow me to build my artwork on location. They are artistically rich environments, where I can meet, converse and collaborate with artists, writers and musicians.”
As for the overall meaning behind the pieces, he says, “Landscape allows for a certain type of storytelling. The history of landscape encapsulates the ideas of the sublime nature, humankind’s power over nature, and nature’s power over humans. My attempt is to portray environmental issues that are not delivered in a heavy-handed way. Rather, in a way that draws attention in a pleasing way, then, if contemplated, could unfold a message of dissidence or a natural discord.
“Initially it may appear that that the light is element out of place. But then, if one looks closer, you will see that in the sites I have chosen there is something contrary within the landscape itself – maybe a rockslide, a fallen tree, erosion or some other disruption in an otherwise picturesque setting.” Sous Les Etoiles Gallery website