My objective as a filmmaker is to explore the aesthetic properties of the physical world through everyday phenomena, finding beauty in unexpected places. My first films were about natural light and its interaction with various materials, but my more recent work explores the urban landscape in states of decay and neglect. A consistent and unified vision of what constitutes beauty – as manifested to our eye and ear – in mundane or even traditionally “ugly” material; attention to detail and technical standards; and a minimalist approach to presentation of the subject matter, all characterize my work. My current project is “films for the home,” a series of films about the urban landscape in states of opulent decay, concentrating on abandoned industrial sites in Brooklyn.
Barton Lewis was born into a family of artists in Urbana, Illinois, and started making films in the 4th grade after his parents gave him a Super 8 movie camera. After graduating high school from the North Carolina School of the Arts he moved to New York where he received a B.M. from The Juilliard School, studying music composition with Roger Sessions and Milton Babbitt. He then went on to receive a B.A. in English literature from Columbia University.
Barton briefly pursued a career in musical theater after college, but devoted himself to filmmaking full-time in the 1990s. His films deal with natural light and its interaction with various materials and elements, such as metal, wood and water, and with the urban industrial landscape. The first public showing of his work was at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in November 2005. Most recently, he had a one-man show at the Millennium Film Workshop in June, 2010.