Getting Under It

Ivan Barnett

WHAT IF YOU TOOK A BIG DOLLOP of Upaya Zen Meditation and transplanted it into a photographer? Well, you might get something like what happened to Ivan Barnett, who driving up Saint Francis, suddenly noticed a nondescript mural he’d seen dozens of times before. Except that this time, he really saw it. Four hours and dozens of photos later, he’d started a surprising series of what he calls “paintings.”

This mural is on Saint Francis?

The next time you are coming into town, before you get to Trader Joe’s, just look to your right. There’s some trees in front of it, and I’m not even sure what the mural is for. Some kind of sports or skiing or something. But that’s not what interested me. I mean, it’s not a Diego Rivera.

This day, for some reason, I got out of the car and really started looking at it. Then the light started to change and I thought, Wow, this is a wild, abstract thing. I stayed there for hours.

Sounds meditative.

Meditative. Paying attention. Being aware. The things that matter, right?

It reminds me of artists like Arthur Dove and Marsden Hartley, who created abstraction in their painting. Those guys painted deep and moody, like if they were a photograph, they’d be two stops down. So that’s exactly what I did.



Photo Ivan Barnett courtesy of Patina Gallery