Inspired by the famous folk tune, “This Land is Your Land” written by Woody Guthrie, Barry Underwood’s series affirms his standing as an environmentalist photographer and ecological advocate. Written in 1940, the song’s original lyrics introduced a critical perspective to the idealistic view of America as Underwood’s images challenge the common bucolic perception of the landscape.
Underwood marks the landscape with LED lights, luminescent substances and other physical processes, utilizing lustrous color and working with shapes, lines and light to point to the immutable traces that human interventions leave behind. By staging a visual disruption in an otherwise familiar setting, Underwood seeks to reveal the unseen potential instilled in the landscape. As a result of the interplay of the natural and unnatural, he creates strikingly beautiful, otherworldly visuals enhancing awareness of environmental issues.
He writes, “The landscape has been and continues to be altered by ambitious human activities linked to political, social, economic, climactic, and aesthetic forces. I am particularly interested in connections between land use and the interpretation of a landscape as a politically symbolic environment, reflecting human activity and one’s own self-definition, as well as our values and beliefs.”
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.