North Central College Fine & Performing Arts

Artist Michael Barton uses ordinary materials in new exhibit

Published on 5/25/2016

North Central College presents “Ordinary,” an exhibit of new mixed media artwork by artist Michael Barton  June 3-July 24. This exhibit is 4 years in the making. Barton explains, “People have seen it in pieces but never in this form.  This is first time that I’ve really felt that it was worth looking at a complete collection.”

This free exhibit will be displayed in North Central’s Schoenherr Gallery at the Fine Arts Center, 171 E. Chicago Ave. Michael Barton will greet visitors at a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, June 3; complimentary refreshments will be served.

A photographer, woodworker, musician and educator, Barton is dedicated to revealing the natural beauty in the ordinary around us. The pieces in this exhibit are a collision of photography and woodworking utilizing ordinary materials and subject matter. “My photographic subjects are images gathered from rest stops, scenic overlooks, gardens, sidewalks, ditches, trash cans and grocery store coolers. It’s amazing what we can see when we open our eyes.” Says Barton. “My working materials are pieces of scrap wood and other castoffs found in most suburban garages. Ordinary fabric dyes, spray paint, rust and fire have supplanted conventional woodstains.” His creative process involves time-consuming methods that could be considered antiquated and irrelevant, but they produce results simply not possible using modern finishing techniques.

Also an accomplished musician with a master of jazz studies degree, Barton combines his love of music and woodworking skills building electric bases. “The lines, shapes, textures and rhythmic movement in my photographs and woodworking have inspired me to create musical instruments, bringing my lifelong dedication to music into the mix.” 3 bases and a guitar will be on display in this exhibit.

Barton has earned several prestigious photography awards and has been featured in Professional Photographer, Rangefinder, Texas Professional Photographer and the American Society of Photographers Magazine. His work has been shown nationwide and is continually presented in the American Society of Photographers Masters Loan Collection. Barton’s work can also be viewed closer to home in galleries throughout the Chicago area.

North Central College’s 2015-2016 Fine and Performing Arts Season is partially sponsored by BMO Harris Bank, Marquette Companies, Nicor Gas, Ryan Hill Realty, Advanced Data Technologies, Savant Capital Management, USG Corporation, Monarch Landing, Naperville Special Events and Cultural Amenities Fund, Illinois Arts Council Agency, DuPage Foundation and Naperville Development Partnership.

This exhibit is among many ongoing programs at North Central College to enrich and broaden the cultural and academic outlook for the College and community. North Central offers a variety of venues accommodating a rich range of local and world-class events, performances and space needs for the public. For a comprehensive schedule of musical performances, theatrical and dance productions, art exhibits and more, visit or call the box office at 630-637-SHOW (7469).