Apr 192023

“…from dawn to dusk, (January)”, 2022

“…from dawn to dusk, (May)”, 2022

“…from dawn to dusk, (December)”, 2022

“white blind (bright red) (02.13)”, 2002

“white blind/bright red (02.6)”, 2002

“Untitled (98.5)”, 1998

From “nowhere near” Untitled (NW 18), 1999

“… and to draw a bright white line with light (Untitled 11.10)”, 2011

Uta Barth’s two part exhibition at Tanya Bonakdar Gallery is a fascinating look at the artist’s work.  It includes the New York debut of her most recent piece, …from dawn to dusk, a nearly 360-degree installation of images commissioned by the J. Paul Getty Trust.

From the press release-

Barth’s expansive 2022 series … from dawn to dusk focuses on the intersection of Southern California light with the architecture of the Getty Center. It traces the changing light at one location of the Richard Meier built campus, for the period of one year. The location was photographed every five minutes, from dawn to dusk, on two days each month, for the entirety of the year. Made with a GigaPan, over 64,000 images were captured and a Timelapse video sequence now shows the progression of this movement of light. As the view repeats from panel to panel, there are subtle changes in light as well as more dramatic blurring and color shifts, which invoke inverted optical afterimages and other visual phenomena that occur when staring at a fixed point for a prolonged period of time. Presented as twelve consecutive single views, the video is embedded among the still images of the installation, and it comes as a surprise to discover what one first assumes to be a still photograph to actually be the moving summation of the show.

In the upstairs galleries, Elizabeth Smith’s selection of work reveals the foundations of the artist’s renowned and influential practice, as well as the trajectory that led to the explorations found in …from dawn to dusk. Elizabeth Smith shared her thoughts on Barth’s practice as she approached this exhibition:

It’s been almost thirty years since I worked with Uta Barth to present her first solo museum show at MOCA in 1995. In relation to her newest project, the gallery’s invitation to select some key examples from both her early series and subsequent ones has offered a welcome opportunity to reengage with and consider the full trajectory of her work. From her earliest to her most recent photographs, Barth’s practice has centered on a nuanced investigation of visual experience, free from narrative. Light, color, the passage of time, and the shifting nature of the process of vision through bodily experience are the ongoing subjects of her resonant images, probed in various ways over decades.

Throughout her career, Uta Barth has made visual perception the subject of her work. Regarded for her “empty” images that reference painterly abstraction, the artist carefully renders blurred backgrounds, cropped frames and the natural qualities of light to capture incidental and fleeting moments, those which exist almost exclusively within our periphery. With a deliberate disregard for both the conventional photographic subject and the point-and-shoot role of the camera, Barth’s work delicately deconstructs conventions of visual representation by calling our attention to the limits of the human eye.

As Leah Ollman writes in her recent Los Angeles Times profile of the artist,

From her earliest years as an artist, Barth’s attention has been drawn to the eye’s behavior: what attracts it, what makes it stay, what causes it to double back, what generates after-images and optical fatigue. Learning to photograph was, for her, a way of learning to see.

This exhibition closes 4/22/23.


Nov 012019

Closing 11/2 at Tanya Bonakdar’s Los Angeles location is Ernesto Neto’s interactive exhibition Children of the Earth.

From the press release-

In Children of the Earth, Neto creates an alluring environment of color, materials, fragrances and sound, transforming the gallery into a living organism, where visitors are encouraged to wander, touch, feel, interact and connect.

Upon entering the gallery, a curtain in green and brown patterns invites the viewer to walk through a tunnel-like path which leads to the main gallery space. Entitled Children of the Earth, a large-scale installation of crochet, spices and leaves hangs from the ceiling to the floor. The large biomorphic shape—hand knitted in vibrant colors of yellows, greens, purples and reds—is flanged by drop-shaped crochet vines that serve as counterbalance and establish the delicate equilibrium of the piece. Here, references to nature interconnect with formal questions of tension, gravity and weight. On the floor, tracing the outline of the structure above, a soft surface of handmade textile is installed. Ceramic vases sprout from the ground, representing the diversity of peoples inhabiting the planet, and that ultimately, we are all the children of the earth. Musical instruments, spices, and crystals comprise an integral part of this malleable, highly tactile sculpture, which engages the five senses, and invites viewers to connect with one another in new and meaningful ways. In expanding the boundaries of physical space and calling for a new type of interaction, Neto creates an experience that is physical, sensorial, intellectual and social all at once.

Surrounding the piece, as another layer of skin, hand-sewn fabric hangs. The organic pattern and color pallet further recall the natural world, as they invoke the forest, wood grain, or the circulatory system of a plant. The path the visitor follows throughout the space, and from within the piece—like an organic line in nature—is analogues to Neto’s conception of life where there is “no separation between humans and nature, nor between art making and art experience”, highlighting that in the exhibition, as in life, everything is connected.

In the back gallery a hanging platform with a crochet canopy and crochet tendrils is installed. Designed for direct interaction, this is a healing bed that offers a moment of rest and respite, where people can connect to themselves, as to one another.  The tendrils function as ‘connectors’, as they amplify the pulse of life while connecting us to the environment and to our own physicality. Embracing the participant in its serenity, the healing bed investigates the meeting point of art, sensation, personal connection and the human body.

The exhibition as a whole connects mind, body and nature through a sensory experience that is unmediated. It is an invitation to connect to ourselves and to our planet at a time when connectivity is most needed. For Neto, sculpture is an extension of the body, and the body is ultimately an extension of earth.