Throughout the past two decades, Uta Barth has made visual perception the subject of her work. Regarded for her “empty” images that border on 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 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.
A 2012 McArthur Fellow, Barth was born in Berlin in 1958 and currently resides in Los Angeles. She received a B.A. from the University of California, Davis in 1982 and an M.F.A from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1985.
Since then, Barth’s work has been the subject of major exhibitions worldwide. Notable solo presentations include to draw with light at SCAD Museum of Art in Savannah, GA (2013), … and to draw a bright, white line with light at The Art Institute of Chicago (2011), Henry Art Gallery at the University of Washington in Seattle (2011), nowhere near, and of time, white blind (bright red) (1999–2002) at SITE Santa Fe in New Mexico (2005), nowhere near at the Lannan Foundation in Santa Fe, New Mexico (2000), and In Between Places, which originated at the Henry Art Gallery at the University of Washington and traveled to the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston (2000).
Her work continues to be well represented in both private and public collections, including those of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York and Bilbao, Spain; The Tate Modern, London; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, Dallas Museum of Art, Texas, UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The Getty Museum, Los Angeles, and The Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, among others.
The artist has taught at the University of California, Riverside since 1990, where she currently serves as Professor Emeritus in the Department of Art. She is also a graduate faculty member at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California.