toby barnes

Artist Bio



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toby barnes


Toby Barnes work has primarily centered on synthesizing contemporary and traditional Asian iconography with digital era imagery and color.  he is of Thai-American descent and his work draws on themes of hybridity, the sacred, and materiality.  He explores these themes in several exhibitions, including most recently 2017’s Volta (Armory Week, NY) “The Pull of Things,” a mixed media display of sensual triggers; 2016’s “Body Electric” (Locust Projects, Miami) where he re-examined the notion of “body as temple”; and 2014’s “Altared States” (Yellow Peril, Providence RI), a mixed-media installation/simulation of South East Asian altars inspired by the use of found objects to create personal altars in restaurants, roadsides, bus stops, and other public spaces from India to Ecuador. In perhaps my most biographical piece 2015’s “32 Ghosts,” a mixed-media installation and performance funded by a Berkshire Taconic Grant, he further explored this mode of re-enchantment through the use of ritualistic practices drawing inspiration from community rituals that are indigenous to Laos and Northeast Thailand (where his mom’s family is from). His artistic practice reflects the hybridity of his own background and comprises painting, installation, performance, and photography to create these works. He has a BFA from Cooper Union and an MFA from the University of Michigan.