“FACING SCULPTURE: A Portfolio of Portraits, Sculpture, and Related Ideas,” by Ricardo Barros, Image Spring Press, 2004. Introduction by Curator Nick Capasso. Hardcover, 168 pages, over 150 duotone and four-color reproductions. Price: $45.00 [A limited number of copies still available through the author.]
As Curator Nick Capasso wrote in his instroduction to the DeCordova Museum exhibition:
“I first met Ricardo Barros on August 4, 1999, when he came to the DeCordova Museum to show his recent body of photographic portraits … I was most impressed by what I saw that day. Ricardo’s photographs were imaginative and engaging, carefully composed, formally rewarding, and masterfully printed. The portraits of sculptors with whom I had worked closely were both psychologically honest and complex, and the images of artists whom I knew only by reputation, or knew not at all, were immediately intriguing. These photographs instilled a desire to meet these sculptors, and to see their work.
Barros’ portraits of contemporary sculptors are sensitive, personal meditations, worlds away from the market-driven image-consciousness that repeatedly puts forth the posturing of celebrity artists. His photographs result from a creative approach to portraiture dependent upon the web of complex relationships among the sculptor, the sculptor’s work, and the work of the photographer. His process is based neither on an imposition of preconceptions, nor an overlay of ego, but on a sensitive, intuitive collaboration that yields a wide variety of images. Ricardo’s portraits have no “style,” no “look,” but are individual artworks that reveal an open and honest regard for sculptors, and a desire to create poetic images. The best of these photographs draw forth aspects of the sculptors’ personalities that most closely inform their work, the psychological space between sculptor and sculpture.
Facing Sculpture is a loving, humanistic tribute to art, creativity, and risk. In a rich interpretive dialogue, Barros’ photographs address and enmesh two layers of human expressive endeavor: sculpture and photography. They also insistently reveal the human presence behind the work of art, and illuminate the extraordinary individuals who happen to communicate more clearly and effectively with objects than with words…
Nick Capasso, Curator, DeCordova Museum 2007
[Curatorial Statement for “Ricardo Barros: Facing Sculpture” exhibition.]
Selected Reviews, Facing Sculpture Project
“Each of these portraits has clearly been thought through differently – composed differently, lighted differently – reflecting the collaborative nature of his work with the sculptors Mr. Barros has chosen to portray. … He seems to know that a certain degree of critical tension will give liveliness and complexity to his images, but he lets the tension remain a nuance. … Like a good critic who draws you deeper into the art – who, by making you feel the limits of mere criticism, renews your appetite for the art itself – Mr. Barros succeeds in raising curiosity about these sculptors and their work.” Barry Schwabsky, The New York Times
“[Facing Sculpture is] an extended inquiry into creation, the portraits reveal an artist looking at art and other artists and creating his own art – one free of an imprint, style, a defining signature … The book’s great strength is Barros’ ability to make art and artist one, each expressing the other.” Chris Ringwald, Photo District News
“This work builds and extends upon the environmental portraiture of Arnold Newman.” Larry Fink, Photographer
“I can’t think of another book that responds to contemporary sculpture and sculptors with such insight.“ Glenn Harper, SCULPTURE Magazine
“What a superb, unusual book! What a significant work of art … Thank you for this work beyond categories that you produced, demonstrating your imagination and spirit, your personal charm and your intuition.” Magdalena Abakanowicz, Sculptor