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Art though Architecture Awards "Gold Level" Art Achievement for Video Commission by Artist Barry Anderson

KANSAS CITY, MO.- National Center for Drug Free Sport (NCDFS ) has been awarded highest level “Art Achievement” by Art through Architecture (AtA) for commissioning a new, site-specific video installation by Kansas City based artist Barry Anderson as part of a recent architectural renovation project completed by el dorado ,inc. architects. The artwork was commissioned as part of the second phase of a two-phase building renovation for NCDFS’s offices at 2537 Madison, on the Westside in downtown Kansas City.

Through AtA, a partnership of American Institute of Architects-Kansas City and Charlotte Street Foundation, new architectural projects may earn Gold, Silver or Bronze levels of Art Achievement by dedicating a percentage of the total construction budget to collecting artworks, commissioning temporary or permanent artworks, and/or including artists on design teams.

Working with AtA, Frank Uryasz, owner of Drug Free Sport, and Josh Shelton, project architect, el dorado, reviewed the work of eligible artists in AtA’s online database at, selected a short list of artists, then conducted studio visits with five finalists, ultimately selecting Barry Anderson for the commission.

“Art through Architecture provided an opportunity for me to consider early in the planning process art installations for our expanded space,” says Uryasz. “Through meetings with selected artists at their studios, I found I was particularly drawn to movement and to Barry Anderson's video animation work.” Anderson was awarded the $10,000 commission in late February, 2009.

Anderson’s 8-plus minute looping digital animation, “There and Back Again,” spreads out across three synched flat screen monitors mounted in a vertical arrangement on a wall in NCDFS’s entrance lobby. The work takes inspiration from the architecture and design of the office lobby, particularly its brightly striped walls, its exposed, white-painted ceiling trusses, and its overall lightness, as well as from the function of the office lobby as a space which people enter and move through.

Mixing figurative and abstract elements, the surrealistic animation unfolds in four “scenes," beginning with a lush blue sky and soft clouds, from the center of which radiate rapidly spinning disks of colorful photographic imagery. This sky-scape morphs into a segment directly inspired by NCDFS’s architectural trusses, with the viewer feeling as if they are swimming through a rabbit hole-like matrix of angular white beams, which then gives way to a purely abstract passage of rainbow-colored, orbiting, ovular forms, finally yielding to a landscape with hyperreal green grass, from which the same spinning disks as in the first scene rise like bubbles toward the sky. Then back to the beginning in an endless loop.

“I wanted to convey a sense of delight,” says Anderson, “and to create a kind of gateway or portal into the space, as well as into an imaginary space.” Aware that visitors might spend a few initial minutes in the lobby then re-visit it on their way out following a meeting elsewhere in the offices, Anderson was interested in making a longer work, and one which varied radically over its course, such that it might offer continual surprises; a new experience for visitors at each encounter. As a whole, the piece, which expands upon Anderson’s recent pop-inspired digital animations but represents his first foray into synched, multi-monitor installation, evinces a sort of spatial journal and grappling with ideas of infinity and “the void.”

“Anderson's video installation introduces an ambient and shifting horizon line, allowing multiple perspectives and vanishing points to appear and re-appear,” says Shelton. “His work, and our collaborative dialogue surrounding the work, was necessarily spatial. As a result, our team began to understand the new architecture surrounding us in expansive ways. “

“Barry incorporated architectural elements of our building into the piece, which makes it truly integrated into the environment of our workspace,” Uryasz adds.

Barry Anderson received his BFA from University of Texas, Austin, in 1991 and his MFA from Henry Radford Hope School of Fine Arts, Indiana University, Bloomington in 2002. His video and photographic work has been widely exhibited nationally and internationally, including in solo exhibitions at Light Work, Syracuse University, Syracuse NY (opening August 2009); Salina Art Center, Salina KS; Byron Cohen Gallery, Kansas City; Marty Walker Gallery, Dallas, TX; Gallery 201, University of Missouri-St. Louis; and Beth Allison Gallery, Kansas City, among others. It has been featured in group exhibitions, video festivals, and fairs at venues such as Arena 1 Gallery, Santa Monica, CA; Urban Culture Project’s la Esquina, Kansas City; Milo Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; Thailand New Media Art Festival, Bangkok; Spark Festival of Electronic Music and Art, University of Minnesota; Centro Cultural Telemar, Rio de Janiero, Brazil; Silas Marder Gallery, Bridgehampton, NY; Dolphin Gallery, Kansas City; Dasm Stuhltrager, Brooklyn, NY; Art Gallery and Museum, The Royal Pump Rooms, Learnington Spa, England; and South Bend Regional Museum, South Bend, Indiana. Anderson completed a video commission for the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland Park, KS, in 2008. He is an Associate Professor of Electronic Media at University of Missouri Kansas City, Department of Art and Art History and is currently a Review Studios artist.

Art through Architecture | Drug Free Sport | Josh Shelton | Frank Uryasz |

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