The formations of birds in flight and their nest building architecture are both guided by an innate sense of purpose and survival. In an early investigation from Animal Logic (Princeton University Press, 2009), we find the photographer examining both phenomena with reverence.
In Murmur, Barnes observes the flocks of starlings that cloud the skies of EUR, a suburb of Rome. In this series, he depicts nature as it behaves on it's own, alive and breathing. The photographs capture the birds' aerial displays, which can take on the form of suspended mesh sculpture or simply blacken the sky. The photographs of the starlings can appear light, airy, and elegant, while others are captured with an unnerving and ominous quality.
Refuge examines the complex architecture of birds' nests, constructed from elements of the natural world along with debris discarded by humans such as string, plastic and dryer lint. The nests are intricate structures, unique in shape and form. This study of birds' nests exhibits an interesting and perhaps complicated relationship between humans and nature. As we make more debris and waste, we pollute the environment, but in turn these nests are made of things we see as trash and they become safe havens for this part of the animal kingdom.
Richard Barnes graduated from the University of California at Berkley with a BA in Fine Arts. He went on to work as the photographer for the joint Yale/University of Pennsylvania excavations at Abydos, Egypt. His resume includes solo exhibitions at the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego, the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, the Carpenter Center at Harvard, Cranbrook Academy of Art Museum and the University of Michigan Art Museum.
His work is included in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Modern Art, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Barnes received the Rome Prize in 2005/2006, and the Alfred Eisenstadt Award in Photography and the Sidman Fellowship for the Arts in 2009.
Murmur & Refuge will remain on view through February 23rd. Foley Gallery is openWednesday - Sunday, 12 - 6pm. To request images; please contact the gallery at 212.244.9081or firstname.lastname@example.org.