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Larry Barth is widely recognized as the preeminent living sculptor of birds—the consequence of his extraordinary sense of design, keen eye for ornithological detail, and remarkable technical skills. Birds, Art & Design is a new exhibition organized in conjunction with Barth’s much-anticipated new book of the same title. It presents a comprehensive gathering of his recent work, on loan from collectors and museums across North America.
“Of all the exquisite designs I see in nature, I am most powerfully drawn to the shapes, colors, and patterns of birds. Art is my way of taking possession of the beauty I see,” says Barth. A lifelong fascination with birds led him from his sketchpad and paints to his father’s workshop where, at age fourteen, he carved his first bird. After high school he enrolled at Carnegie Mellon University where he developed his own curriculum, studying birds and art. He graduated with honors in 1979 with a degree in Fine Arts in the field of design.
Since then he has been carving full time. He has been a consistent winner at the Ward Foundation Wildfowl Carving Competition held in Ocean City, Maryland, where he has won an unprecedented sixteen world championships in the decorative lifesize division. His work has been included in the prestigious Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum’s Birds in Art exhibition every year since 1980. In recognition of his artistry, Barth was awarded the Master Wildlife Artist medallion from the Woodson in 1991. He has exhibited at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia, the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, the National Geographic Society’s Explorer’s Hall, and the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. The Museum of American Bird Art at Mass Audubon (then known as the Mass Audubon Visual Arts Center) presented his first solo exhibition in 2003.
Barth has taught and lectured widely throughout the United States, but spends most of his time close to his home and studio near Stahlstown, Pennsylvania.