Comments/Context: Uta Barth's newest works explore the idea of using focused light as a drawing mechanism. Her pictures turn luminous lines and areas of white brightness into a discrete medium, like ink or paint, that can be carefully controlled by the hand of the artist, not in the sense of a photogram or a darkroom manipulation, but in the context of straight photographic image making. In two separate projects, she has used curtains and window blinds to direct the incoming light, creating ethereal shapes and forms that are projected onto different underlying surfaces.
here). This white line slowly expands into a wide ribbon as the time passes, in the end becoming a thick stripe of sinuous diffusing light, almost like waves on a seashore or Morris Louis' washes of watery paint. It's an extremely simple construct that provides a graceful and meditative view of the abstract movement of time.
I found the images in the back room to have more complexity and visual punch. In these works, Barth uses the blinds to generate squares and rectangles of radiant projected sunlight, which are then directed onto flat white closet doors and arrays of drawers. The black cracks along the edges of the storage areas create linear geometries, which are then covered in additional layers of brilliant white shapes, creating flattened planes of Mondrian-like abstraction. Barth subtly changes the camera angle from image to image, bringing in more or less of the perspective of the drawers, in a few allowing the view down the hallway to become a dark stripe along the edge of the frame. These are quiet, intellectual pictures, playing with reference points and internal geometries, examining shimmering light as a defining overlayer.
As always, there is a calmness to Barth's heady explorations. She continues to probe the edges of perception and visual recognition with a meticulous sense of restraint, in this case, proving that elemental light can be an inventive medium in and of itself.
Rating: * (one star) GOOD (rating system described here)
Through December 22nd