oh uta

one program note... on tuesday the 13th i'll be interviewed on thing's crafty. we'll be talking about knot thread stitch.  i'll be doing a quick image transfer demo as well as a demo on a few embroidery stitches. it's a 1pm pacific time - and it's LIVE [although apparently it will be on you tube at a later date?]. so yeah. i'm sure i'll make a really dumb face at some point... watch me squirm... [you do have to register in order to be a part of the fun, but it's free].

so uta barth - you know the photographer [macarthur] genius? well. it was a late morning talk. in a small-ish room. i think i might have been the only non-cca person there. they [students - mostly grad students i think] were all eating bagels, talking to one another. and then she spoke. for an hour. before she started my mind kept returning to the million other things i should be doing. but then she talked [while sitting. humbly]. i took 3 pages of notes.

i have ALWAYS loved her work. the compositions, the color. the blur. the nothing, but so yet NOT nothingness of her work. it was interesting because although her work is made using photography, i never thought of her as a photographer. apparently neither does she. 

in the spirit of her work i will just share with you some of what i wrote down. i hope that in some way it will inspire you. i walked out of that room with my head reeling in that amazing i just heard a super smart artist talk about their work in a meaningful way and if only i could make something that GOOD i'd be happy kind of way...

photography has always had a subject. what happens with the deletion of subject. what if the approach to counter what a camera does naturally. remove the narrative and lean toward abstraction.

what if we LEVEL out - equalize. look for visual pleasure [vs. beauty - which used to be the derogative, but now it's "pretty" that is]. things are out of focus because the background can create context. is context. 

what is behind the subject. the models, the people in photographs. what is that space. what is that space when it's cinematic?

interior worlds. compositions pushed to the edges. light in space. the influence of vermeer. her dad bought her mom 2 reproductions. they ended up in her room. growing up that's what she looked at.

form and scale are content [here i wrote a big YES!]. by removing specificity there is atmosphere. when info washes off the edge they become like color field paintings. 

what do you see out of your peripheral vision. multiple images. sequences. after image [what happens when you close your eyes]. you can't just photo emptiness. the other photos then become a bracket. the work isn't about subject or location. 


what happens when you see something so many times it's invisible. using your own home what is in your day to day - the repetition of it removes the subject. it becomes about time. the traces of light from her living room window. [there is no art in her house as it interferes with the looking for light]. 

it's not the place. or the subject. take the camera point up and down. no destination. insertion of self into this landscape.

she found old undergrad and graduate work. work she didn't show anyone at the time. but now it's clear that it just fits in. it was before she had the vocabulary. make things even if you don't have a clue what you are making. 

drawing with light. [the root of photography]. in a brief moment of perfect geometry [and at one point in the year when the light is just right] she can manipulate the light on her closet to create mondrianesque light works on her closet. 

point of honesty.
some marginal context.
i'm not good at photography. i don't make images outside of what i make.
contemplative = meditative [she hated when people called her work meditative, preferred contemplative. but then in the dictionary contemplative = meditative and visa versa]
the camera taught her how to see.

here is an arty farty but good interview.
and just check out a google image search of her name. the page. in entirety. enough said.


Anonymous said…
THANKS so much for passing along some of what the lecture meant to you. AMAZING how the soul expresses itself when we 'allow' it, isn't it?
Kathryn said…
I love Barth's work too and SO thrilled you shared your notes of her lecture. Wow, lots of things to think about in our own work. I've always thought about the background context in terms of the foreground image. Every time, so important. I love the mention that scale is content. I'm grappling with that in my own work at the moment. So much to chew on. Thank you!
annamaria said…
Awesome! Thank you for sharing this- I was not at all familiar with this artist, and I am so happy both for the images and your notes.xx
Jesse Lu Bain said…
omygodyes- "make things even if you don't have a clue what you are making. "
Katrina said…
love reading your notes. only wish i had joined you for the talk. next time! xo
andrea said…
gah, I love this post, lisa. I love it so much.

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