By Ray Holley.
How is a California stone sculptor influenced by a 25-year relationship with the Santa Fe spirit? “Santa Fe reaches out and creates a deeply personal connection with each artist who visits. On my first drive into Santa Fe the light, the mountains, and the interplay between them just called to me as a sculptor. I knew I had to build a relationship with this town.”
T Barny’s path to sculpture began on a beach. As a youngster he loved to make sand castles, but no one recognized them as castles – they were his first abstract sculptures. “I would get all my friends on the beach to help me make these big shapes out of sand, big mounds of sand, then I would work on carving away at them until the waves came and washed them away,” he explains.
The youthful exuberance that led T Barny to create abstract sand sculptures has never left. For more than three decades, the sculptor has created works of art that invite you to join him in a world of flowing stone. Under his hand, massive blocks of stone are transformed into graceful mobius curves that seem to defy gravity and reflect the magic and wonder in our world. The forms he creates from stone are a synthesis of thought and reflection, alchemy and science.
In 1989, that inquisitive spirit led him to Santa Fe, where he has shown at local galleries for the last quarter-century. “At that time, abstract sculpture was not as popular as realistic images of the southwest. People were saying – ‘Wait a minute! That’s not a cowboy or a horse!’ But, I think they spoke to the natural wonder of Santa Fe and people responded.”
After a 15 year courtship with various galleries, T Barny found his home with Nancy Hunter of Hunter Kirkland. “Nancy saw how my abstract sculpture could complement the various artists whose paintings she shows. She has always shared her enthusiasm for my work with visitors and Collectors.”
T Barny helped found the Southwest Stone Symposium in Santa Fe, and taught stone carving there for many years. Santa Fe is now part of the third-largest art market in the world, and T Barny’s work is well-known and avidly collected. He has been with Nancy Hunter’s Hunter Kirkland Gallery for 10 years, where his new “Spirit Stone” collection will open September 19. “I’m making pieces from stone I discovered in the Southwest,” says T Barny. “Picasso Marble, Utah Rhyolite, New Mexico Alabaster, and Utah Calcite. I used to find these stones in rock shops along my route between Healdsburg and Santa Fe and take home samples to carve. Santa Fe opened me up to carving more than just Italian Marble.” T Barny notes that some stone he is carving for “Spirit Stone” are considered to have healing properties, and are often worn or carried as small cabochons – although his large works aren’t practical to wear as a necklace!
From his studio in California Wine Country, T Barny values his long connection with Santa Fe. “The light is so unique in the high desert, and it’s exciting to go to over 200 galleries along Canyon Road and look at art from all around the world. I don’t think anyplace has the diversity and quality of art you find in Santa Fe. This place respects and celebrates the arts.”
Artist T Barny – Abstract stone carving
Hunter Kirkland Gallery 200-B Canyon Road Santa Fe, New Mexico
“SpiritStone” opens with an artist reception on Friday, September 19, 2014 from 5-7pm.
Ray Holley is a writer and editor living in Healdsburg in Northern California. He likes strong coffee and strong beer. He does not fear the serial comma.