Photographer, woodworker, musician, educator uses ordinary materials for exhibit

May 23, 2016

North Central College presents “Ordinary,” an exhibit of new mixed media by artist Michael Barton, June 3 through July 24.

A photographer, woodworker, musician and educator, Barton is dedicated to revealing the natural beauty in the ordinary around us. Pieces in this exhibit are a collision of photography and woodworking, utilizing ordinary materials and subject matter.

This free exhibit will be on display in North Central’s Schoenherr Gallery at the Fine Arts Center, 171 E. Chicago Ave. Barton will greet visitors at a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, June 3; complimentary refreshments will be served.

“My photographic subjects are images gathered from rest stops, scenic overlooks, gardens, sidewalks, ditches, trash cans and grocery store coolers,” says Barton. “It’s amazing what we can see when we open our eyes. My working materials are pieces of scrap wood and other castoffs found in most suburban garages. Ordinary fabric dyes, spray paint, rust and fire have supplanted conventional wood stains.” His creative process involves time-consuming methods that could be considered antiquated and irrelevant, but they produce results simply not possible using modern finishing techniques.

Also an accomplished musician with a master of jazz studies degree, Barton combines his love of music and woodworking skills building custom electric basses. “The lines, shapes, textures and rhythmic movement in my photographs and woodworking have inspired me to create instruments, bringing my lifelong dedication to music into the mix.” Three basses and a custom guitar will be on display.  

Barton has earned several prestigious photography awards and been featured in Professional Photographer, Rangefinder, Texas Professional Photographer and the American Society of Photographers magazines. His work has been shown nationwide, is continually presented in the American Society of Photographers Masters Loan Collection and on display at the Professional Photographers of America headquarters in Atlanta.

North Central College’s 2015-2016 Fine and Performing Arts Season is partially sponsored by BMO Harris Bank, Marquette Companies, Nicor Gas, Ryan Hill Realty, Advanced Data Technologies, Savant Capital Management, USG Corporation, Monarch Landing, Naperville Special Events and Cultural Amenities Fund, Illinois Arts Council Agency, DuPage Foundation and Naperville Development Partnership.