Barry Le Va, American (1941 - )

Barry Le Va was born in 1941 in Long Beach, California. After studying mathematics and architecture for three years at California State University, Barry Le Va began studying art at Otis Art Institute and received a degree in 1967. In the 70s, he taught sculpture at Princeton and Yale universities.

Barry Le Va's work, is about placing the viewer within the work rather than keeping him or her outside it. The viewer is in the space and influences the sculpture, becoming a part of the experience by moving through the work, looking at each part, examining the internal relation between the and finding out how and to what extent the balance between the parts is maintained as the viewer shifts position and viewpoint. The experience is strengthened if the work gives the impression of being in a delicate balance or in a state of restrained and unrealized transformation, both physically and conceptually. By being engaged in this way, the viewer is brought into dialogue with the work and the artist.

Barry Le Va's studies in architecture have contributed to developing his sensitivity toward space, presence, volume, form, force fields, relations, and tension. He starts with a set of elements and an open score or manuscript that he follows, and proceeds by testing things out, eliminating, making adjustments, and producing new arrangements. Le Va says that "There's no sense in worrying about what it's going to look like beforehand. If you have your elements that mean something, it's arranging them to focus in on what you want them to do: …it's closer to musical composition."

Barry Le Va has worked and lived in New York City for more than two decades.

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