Uta Barth's recent project examines the conventions of photographic presentation. Over the past three years, she has created two series, Ground and Field, which consist of blurred images generated by focusing the camera on an unoccupied foreground. These unframed empty images present only background information, implying the absence of subject and referring to the function of images as containers of information. The untitled images of Ground show landscapes and interiors and make reference to the compositional conventions of still photography and painting. The images in Field, Barth's latest series, mimic cinematic framing conventions in a subtle query of the visual structures that imply movement or activity in the foreground.*
The artist's first New York one person show in two years, this show consists entirely of new work. In the main gallery, we will have on exhibit large multi-panel pieces, four diptychs and one triptych. Each presents a specific location in slightly out-of-sinc views. Neither Grounds or Fields, these new photographs evidence the way in which perception relies upon a multiplicity of readings, thus drawing further attention to the activity of seeing.
Then, in large scale work similar to those commissioned for the "Wall Project" at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, Barth will present two Fields which are among the first to approximate the size of a film screen. Recording information that freely bleeds off the edge, the blurred cityscapes refer to the compositional vocabulary of filmmaking. As the viewer, one walks into these atmospheric scenes, locations or backgrounds and stands in the space of action.
*Sheryl Conkelton, from the introduction to an interview with Uta Barth published in the Journal of Contemporary Art, Volume 8.1, Fall 1997 (http://thing_net/ica)