Barnaby Evans is the creator, founder, and executive artistic director of WaterFire Providence. He is an artist who works in a multitude of mediums including site-specific sculpture installations, photograph, 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 M. Evans
Evans, a resident of Providence, is best known for WaterFire, a sculpture which he installed on the three rivers of Downtown Providence that draws over one million visitors to the city each year. In 1994, Barnaby created 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 ongoing installation in 1997.
Evans has also created WaterFire Houston in 1998 and installed Moving Water in 2001 for the Vita Brevis Program of Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art. Among his other installation works, Barnaby created Temple to Milk in 1989, Protecting the Flag in 1990, Execution Coda (with artist Irene Lawrence) in 1993, and Solstice Courtyard in 1997. Evans created Rikyus Second Dream for the Rhode Island School of Design Museum of Art for the summer of 1999, and in 2001 crafted 613 Lengths of Bamboo at the Brattleboro Museum of Art and Heat of Glass for the Museum of Glass and Contemporary Art in Tacoma, Washington. Evans is currently exploring art installations for a number of other cities including St. Petersburg, Barcelona, Seoul, 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 Bibliothèque Nationale, 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. His photographs have also been nationally and internationally exhibited and published in such magazines as Camera, Lucerne, Switzerland; Photokina, Cologne, Germany; Photography Annual, New York, and Schweizerische, Switzerland.
As recent as April 27, 2011, Tiffany & Company of New York announced the release of a limited production sterling silver charm inspired by WaterFire, and this prestigious firm presented WaterFire creator Barnaby Evans with a custom-etched Tiffany crystal award to commemorate WaterFire’s significant contribution to the revitalization of Providence.
– David T. Shwaery