A selection of photographs from the series Studio Constructs (2007-10)
Studio Construct 8 (2007), archival pigment print 43.75×53.75in
Studio Construct 69 (2008), archival pigment print 43.75×53.75 in
Studio Construct 51 (2008), archival pigment print 43.75×53.75 in
Studio Construct 17 (2007), archival pigment print 43.75×53.75 in
Studio Construct 59 (2008), archival pigment print 43.75×53.75in
Barbara Kasten explores modes of reorganizing the visual environment by using geometric shapes, mirrors and glass to create elaborate constructions for the purpose of being photographed while exposed to specific light conditions. The scale of these constructions has ranged from the moderate to full-blown architectural interactions, that have been more akin to film sets with crews in attendance. By this approach, the photograph itself becomes the object and is removed from being representative or documentary. Kasten expands that while subject matter is inherent to photography, her images are unidentifiable and exist as records of light that explore spatial and formal ambiguity. This distance results in a more indirect connection between the viewer and the work. (edit from B.K.’s website)
While Kasten has referred to the influences of The Bauhaus and Constructivism in her work, there are clearly traces back to work of Moholy Nagy. She can also be seen as a precursor to a new generation of artists using photography and constructed environments such as Eileen Quinlan and Sara Van Der Beek. Perhaps a less expected but also a defining influence was her time as a West Coast artist that was spent with artists such as James Turrell and Robert Irwin, who were both working light as a primary material.
>The process of capturing an image through a camera lens requires an object. This body of work addresses the representational value of that object. By photographing a transparent plane, and its shadow, familiar association with life experience is eliminated. The result is a concrete photographic abstract image.< Barbara Kasten
More info barbarakasten.net
To read James R. Hugunin’s essay about Barbara Kasten’s photography click here.