Barnaby Evans is an artist who works in many media including site-specific sculpture installations, photography, film, garden design, architectural projects, writing and conceptual works. His original training was in the sciences, but he has been working exclusively as an artist for more than twenty-five years.
Barnaby Evans received his Bachelor’s degree in biology and environmental science from Brown University in 1975. He was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Humanities by Brown University and an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts by Rhode Island College, both in 2000. Evans has also received the Aaron Siskind Fellowship in Photography, several fellowships from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, the Silver Prize for Colour Photography at the International Triennial Exhibition (in Switzerland) and Providence’s Renaissance Award in 1997. Evans received the 2003 Kevin Lynch Award from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and WaterFire was honored with the 2003 Rudy S. Bruner Silver Award for Urban Excellence from the Bruner Foundation given to Providence for the renaissance of its downtown. In 2010, Evans was honored with a Distinguished Service to the Arts Award from the National Governors Association.
Evans has lectured at many universities including Brown University, the Rhode Island School of Design, MIT, Harvard, Cornell, McGill, the University of Colorado, University of Arizona, and the University of Barcelona. Evans was the 2003/2004 Artist in Residence at MIT and also taught courses at the Urban Studies Department at MIT on the impact of ephemera on the urban environment. WaterFire has been discussed in hundreds of articles and included in symposia in Helsinki, Barcelona, Montreal, Seoul, New Zealand, Amsterdam, Minneapolis and Philadelphia. WaterFire has also been studied and written about in numerous urban studies and public art books, as well as appearing in novels, poems, and narrative films.
Barnaby Evans created WaterFire in its first version in 1994 in Providence as First Fire to celebrate the tenth anniversary of First Night Providence. In June 1996, he created Second Fire for the International Sculpture Conference and the Convergence International Arts Festival in Providence. With hundreds of volunteers and the broad support of the community he established WaterFire as an on-going installation in 1997. Evans also created WaterFire Houston in 1998 and installed Moving Water for the Institute of Contemporary Art’s Vita Brevis Program in Boston in 2001.
Among other installation works, Barnaby Evans created Temple to Milk in 1989, Protecting the Flag in 1990, Execution Coda (with artist Irene Lawrence) in 1993, Plumb Line in 1994, and Solstice Courtyard in 1997. Evans created Rikyū’s Second Dream for the Rhode Island School of Design Museum of Art for the summer of 1999, a related work, 613 Lengths of Bamboo at the Brattleboro Museum of Art and Heart of Glass for the Museum of Glass and Contemporary Art in Tacoma, Washington, both in 2001. Evans created two installations entitled Never Use a Red Pen in honor of Dr. J. Mark Schuster, one on the MIT campus and one at First Night Boston, both in 2008. 1000 Ships, a meditation on the bicentennial of the abolition of the slave trade, was a collaboration with Lyra Monteiro and Andrew Losowsky of The Museum on Site presented at WaterFire in 2008. Starry, Starry Night was a new installation at WaterFire Providence unveiled in 2009. Bridge of Stars followed closely behind illuminating another part of the installation in 2010. Evans has created installations of WaterFire in Columbus, Ohio and in Kansas City, Missouri. Evans is currently exploring art installations for a number of other cities including St. Petersburg, Barcelona, Seoul, Hiroshima, Rome, Padua and Venice.
Barnaby Evans is also known for his photography which is included in the permanent collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; the Bibliotheque National, Paris; the Musee’ d’art et d’histoire, Fribourg, Switzerland; the Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, Massachusetts; and the Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design among others. His photographs have also been nationally and internationally exhibited and published in Camera , Lucerne, Switzerland; Photokina, Cologne, Germany; Photography Annual, New York; and Schweizerische Photorundschau / Revue Suisse de Photographie.