I had a professor in college who used to say that he hated going to artist talks because what the artist said always spoiled the work for him.  That’s kind of how I feel about artist statements; for example, whenever I encounter my own work on the web, I always sort of wish it could just be displayed without any kind of statement.  Maybe my statement is always flawed, or maybe I just like watching others interpret my work however they will, without any explanation on the artist’s part.  Anyway, once in a while, I read an artist’s statement that totally enriches my experience of their work.  I love feeling like, “Hmmph, so that’s what you were thinking.  I see!” after I’ve finished viewing a series of photographs and then reading the statement.  That’s how I feel about Morgan Barrie’s series, In Arcadia, and its statement.

My current body of work deals with relationships between humans, animals, and their environments in North America. The title “In Arcadia” references the Latin phrase “et in Arcadia ego,” translated as “even in Arcadia, I exist.” This has often been interpreted to mean that even in paradise, death is always looming. For this project, I have re-interpreted this phrase to imply that even in a pastoral utopia, humanity is present. Without humans, the idea of an unspoiled Eden doesn’t make any sense.

I love both interpretations of this phrase.

In my photographs, human characters come face to face with other animals and “the natural world.” My goal is not necessarily to romanticize these relationships, which have often been that of predator/prey or weaker/stronger, and for that reason, I often set up potential power struggles and dangerous encounters. However, I also hope to showcase the idea that, while our technology might not be a part of the natural world, on a fundamental level we are. No matter how far we mentally or spiritually become disconnected from nature, on a bodily level we can’t separate from it. While humans have customized so much of the natural world to make it easily livable, the life we’ve created in that environment is neither sustainable nor (for many) fulfilling.

Visit artist's site: morganbarrie.com

Found via: urbanautica