Morgan Barnard

Light Between, 2022, Light installation at Pie Projects

Artist Statement

As a new media artist, I investigate how data, sound and light intersect to initiate meditative states, explore the nature of perception, and raise awareness about our intimate relationship to the environment. I work primarily in light-based media such as projection, screens and lights, navigating the links between cinema, generative media, interactivity and data visualization.

My work operates across public spaces, galleries and museums to create sensory experiences that promote a slower way of seeing and interacting. I create ephemeral and immersive experiences that connect us to being in the moment through the interplay of light and sound. I am interested in the way that data sets are malleable and can be mapped between media to convey ideas and visualize the unseen – like the influence of solar winds on the upper atmosphere, behaviors of a river below the surface, and the dynamic movement of the wind.

My artistic focus on immediacy and interactivity reflects my multidisciplinary influences and background. I studied tenor saxophone with experimental musician Glenn Spearman, which informed my working relationship with jazz, electronic music, and improvisation by emphasizing the ephemeral nature of live performance. Filmmaker Maya Deren, who created films with indefinite, cyclical narrative structures that permit multiple understandings of the way we perceive our experience increased my interest in interactivity and experimental narrative structures. The pioneer in computer graphics, John Whitney, claimed that the computer is "the ultimate kinetic image generative instrument." This image illustrates my belief that digital art can be as expressive as  musical instrument. In my work I play with this generative instrument to create a conversation between artist and viewer through interaction, improvisation, and immediacy. 


Still from Cloudscape, 2021, Real-time generative media displayed on screens of various sizes.



Santa Fe based artist Morgan Barnard creates experimental, immersive works that have been featured in museums, galleries, festivals, and public spaces. His works incorporate animation, video, dynamic lighting, sound, rapid prototyping, and generative, design into projections, lighting installations, screen based works and physical media. With a background in fine art, education, filmmaking, music, and interactive design, Barnard brings a unique, multidisciplinary sensibility to his work. His artistic practice explores the emergent nature of reality and perception by combining systems from the natural world and from generative media. These connected systems provide and experimental platform to initiate interactive experiences and performance based pieces. The contrast between structure and abstraction creates a space where the viewer becomes a participant through their interaction; a state of improvisational immediacy. 

Barnard's first solo show was a Pie Projects in Santa Fe, New Mexico. It featured his immersive projection installation Light State, an audio-reactive projection and LED sculpture entitled Cellular, and Barnard's explorations in plotter drawings, which combine watercolor painting and generative drawings. His work with Pie Projects continued in 2022 with a site-specific window installation Light Between, a light art piece that provides viewers with a moment of meditation and reverie. His public art projects include the lighting project Tilikum Light in Portland, Oregon that uses data from the Willamette River to control dynamic lighting on the Tilikum Crossing bridge and Sublimare at the San Diego airport where a dynamic lighting installation is controlled using real-time data from a wave buoy off the coast of California. His performance pieces include Inter-Reactions, a generative audio/visual piece featured as a live stream during the Currents New Media Festival in 2021. He looks forward to continuing to explore the relationship between data, light, and experience. 

Initiation Trinity, 2022, Lumia light sculpture (detail)