Saturday, December 10, 2011

Uta Barth: and to draw a bright white line with light... and Compositions of Light on White

I walked into Tanya Bonakdar's gallery hoping to see some nice soft pictures from Uta Barth, whom I have to admit I sometimes really do like.  What I found were, Noisy/Grainy prints in the front room, of curtains, evidently from her home and taken on one afternoon.  The images were nice, sans the images with her hand in them, which very clearly show the excessive size relative to format/film, poor scanning, or overworking in Photoshop.  I felt like I was in some sort of art school hell, where everything is so this and so that, and we don't even stop to consider discussing technique etc.  Somehow or another prints have gotten exceptionally worse over the last 20 years, mostly because of the ease at which people can produce images large, regardless of whether or not they call for it, or their technique can handle it.

 and to draw a bright white line with light...

I found the noisiness very tolerable in the texture of the curtains, especially since the images were face mounted to non glare acrylic, a trick similar to using watercolor paper to hide noise and poor prints.  You absolutely cannot face mount digital prints, anyone that does this and tells you it will last is a fool or a liar, I'll let them have their pick.  Is anyone anywhere that knows anything?  Might as well just get some 777 glue from home depot and some acrylic at the same time and glue that sumbitch down!

I found the entire room to sort of take on this wishy washy anything goes, isn't this a great idea vibe, so I moved onto the back room.

Compositions of  Light on White

Same criticism here of the face mounting digital prints on acrylic, but these images were much nicer to me.  First of all they were properly printed(i.e. size of the prints felt right and the noise level was down), and they felt somehow less contrived.

Overall, I believe the show is worth a visit, I however, would advise that Uta take some input from a from a framer/mounter that is willing to tell her the truth, that only Chromogenic and Ilfochrome/Cibachrome, and RC BW prints can be face mounted.

I have often thought that if photography were difficult in the true sense of the term -meaning that the creation of a simple photograph would entail as much time and effort as the production of a good watercolor or etching - there would be a vast improvement in total output. The sheer ease with which we can produce a superficial image often leads to creative disaster. - Ansel Adams - "A Personal Credo," in American Annual of Photography, vol. 58


  1. Dude didn't that Saatchi article teaching you anything? We're in a pos-modern, post-quality, post-give a fuck age. If you have to ask questions, well then you can't afford it!

  2. I am, however, not a man in my age, this age of consent(great New Order song I am listening to now actually)-'I am not the kind that needs to tell you just what you want me to'

    Where is the thumbs down button? Why is everything so wonderful?!

  3. I am not a man of my age, no, I am much younger than that...