Barry Barnes, M.F.A.

“I find it crucial to share my artistic journey with students, discussing my inspirations, the paths taken, challenges encountered, and how I have overcome obstacles. By revealing both successes and failures, I emphasize that art is a continuous learning experience that demands ongoing exploration and experimentation. This helps students understand the importance of dedication and goal-setting in achieving success as an artist.”


Assistant Professor of Art

Educational Background

  • M.F.A., Arizona State University
  • B.F.A., Kansas City Art Institute

Year Joined Franklin


Are the fundamentals of art emphasized in the studio art curriculum?

The Art Faculty at Franklin College emphasizes the importance of fundamental skills in all studio art courses. The assignments are designed to support students in their developmental journey, starting with basic skills and progressing to more complex topics as they advance. Advanced students concentrate on cultivating conceptual ideas, overcoming technical challenges, and constructing a cohesive body of work for their Senior Portfolio Exhibition.

Artist Statement

I explore a variety of construction and surface techniques in my work, applied to both functional and sculptural concepts. I find pleasure in the delicate and intimate engagement with functional vessels, while larger slab-constructed pieces demand a more assertive strategy.

The essence of my work is rooted in the energy of responding spontaneously to the clay’s surface, creating a sense of chaos that serves as the foundation for my artistic expression. I employ techniques such as stretching, applying, reapplying, impressing, scraping, and other spontaneous mark-making methods to explore the expressive potential of the clay.

Layers of layers of slip, underglaze, and glaze are strategically used to either enhance or conceal mark-making, textures, or images. My goal is to produce work that honors the “truth to process,” allowing the construction process to be evident in the final piece.

Selected Professional Accomplishments

Selected Exhibitions

• Texture/Form (solo exhibition), Art Space Vincennes
• 50 Shades of Clay, New Harmony Contemporary Gallery, New Harmony, IN
• Two Sides to Every Story (solo exhibition), Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center, Bloomington, IN
• University of Indianapolis Fifth-Third Sculpture Walk, Indianapolis, IN
Outdoor installation, nationally juried exhibition, Purchase award
• Modular (solo exhibition), Shircliff Gallery of Art, Vincennes University
• Vessels & Modular Sculpture (solo exhibition), The Gallery, Bloomington, IN
• Mark of the Maker, Lamp Gallery, NCECA gallery tour, Indianapolis, IN
• AMACO Invitational, NCECA gallery tour, Indianapolis, IN
• Ceramics Monthly International Competition, Columbus Convention Center,
Columbus, OH, International juried exhibition with NCECA conference, catalog
• Form and Function, Galleria Mesa, Mesa, AZ, nationally juried exhibition, Juror’s award
• Feats of Clay XII, Lincoln Arts, Lincoln, CA, nationally juried exhibition, Purchase award
• City of Phoenix Arizona Ceramic Artist Exhibition, Sky Harbor Airport, Phoenix, AZ,
• 29th Ceramic National Exhibition, Nationally juried traveling exhibition, catalog
Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, NY and the Newark Museum of Art, Newark, NJ

Selected Sculptural Commissions

• Vincennes University, Art & Design Center, 5 ceramic sculptures for outdoor installation
• American Art Clay Co., Indianapolis, IN; Permanent outdoor two-column installation
• The Mesa YMCA, Mesa, AZ; Permanent modular-ceramic installation; Mesa Mentoring Program
• Mesa Community College, Mesa, AZ; Ceramics and steel sculpture for the new library
• The Mesa Museum for Youth, Mesa, AZ; Permanent installation, collaborative community effort

In my spare time…

I love spending time with family taking long walks and bike rides, exploring the outdoors, and kayaking.; I love exploring new plants and possibilities for incorporating my modular sculptures into a landscape. My home garden has been featured in Historic Irvington’s Garden tour, just east of downtown Indianapolis.