Morgan Barnard is an experimental saxophonist and installation artist using interactive light play to express actualities of the land.
Santa Fe | morganbarnard.com | @morganix
represented by Pie Projects, Santa Fe
Morgan Barnard finds kinetic possibility in digital art, clearing trails that connect generative tools directly to the land. His filmmaker dad nurtured within him a slow way of seeing.
“My work as an artist returns to these early impressions when images, sounds, and light spoke directly to me, their shapes and colors a language altogether separate from the story they had originally been created to tell,” Barnard says.
“One of the things that I feel connects New Mexico with expanded cinema is that there is no singular focus in New Mexico,” Barnard says. “It is immersive—everywhere you look you see open horizons, expansive skies, and nearly daily light shows. I want to create works where the focal point is not restricted to a single screen or identifiable cinematic technique.”
Wide-spanning, collaborative, public manifestations of this approach reach outside Barnard’s home base. Tilikum Light (2015) uses data from the Willamette River in Portland, Oregon to control dynamic lighting on the Tilikum Crossing bridge. Sublimare (2013) connects information sent from a buoy off the coast of California to an installation at the San Diego airport.
His roots in free jazz—Barnard studied tenor saxophone under Glenn Spearman—appear subtly when installation works like Light Between (2022) fracture and pulse for a viewer otherwise lulled by the ambient glow of Lumia lightboxes, an impression of the air after a storm. Each work is made to stoke the imaginations of passers-through.
“After working so physically, I am shifting back to creating virtual and simulated experiences that are directly interactive with an audience,” Barnard says.
In the fall, Barnard’s work will return to Pie Projects in Santa Fe, which hosted his first solo gallery show. He hopes to develop a series of live cinema performances with live music, projections, and light art at the intersection of storytelling and improvisation.