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Uta Barth: Nowhere Near at Site Santa Fe
Uta Barth, Untitled (detail) from "nowhere near".

SANTA FE, NM.- SITE Santa Fe is pleased to present Uta Barth: nowhere near, …and of time, white blind (bright red), 1999-2002, an exhibition comprised of three series of photographs through May 1, 2005. In each of the three series, nowhere near, …and of time, white blind (bright red), 1999-2002, Barth’s photographs focus on the ordinary, the unadorned, the ephemeral. Turning her camera on what is often overlooked, her extremely focused study of visual phenomena has produced a body of work of increasing philosophical complexity and simple visual purity. Emphasizing the act of seeing, Barth alters the relationship of the viewer to the subject matter: “I’m trying to make you aware of looking,” explains Barth, “rather than of what you’re looking at.” Deceptively simple, her photographs question the traditional functions of pictures, subvert photographic conventions, and re-direct the viewer’s attention to the act of perception. Moving the viewer’s focus backward and forward, and side-to-side, in nowhere near and …and of time the subject matter is literally the physicality of visual experience. Nowhere near is a series of photographs that looks out windowpanes to the artist’s backyard while . . .and of time takes a long look at the light and shadow projected through a window into a room. Clearly related though varying with slight shifts in angles, changes in atmosphere, light and time of day, implicit in each series of diptychs and triptychs is Barth’s central aesthetic project: an examination of perception and the conventions of photographic presentation. Jan Tumlir says in his catalogue essay: “By purging her pictures of their ostensible subjects, she has sought to redirect our attention to a kind of perceptual noise, that which intrudes all around: in the setting, the outlying objects, the air.”

A cinematic quality informs white blind (bright red), a series that isolates sharply contrasted details of tree branches against a stark, monochromatic sky. This exhibition exists as an installation, a continuous band of about fifty images that wrap around the entire gallery space. There is no beginning or end; any image can serve as the point of entry. “They are images of duration, of visual memory, of optical over exposure,” says Barth. “The work describes brightly colored afterimages and blinding events; it describes what the eye sees—that the camera cannot.”

Uta Barth was born in Berlin, Germany and now lives and works in Los Angeles. Her work has been exhibited internationally at venues including The Whitney Museum of American Art; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the St. Louis Museum; the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College; the Princeton Art Museum; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami; the Wexner Center, Columbus, Ohio; the De Appel Foundation, Amsterdam; IKON Gallery, Birmingham, England; the Rooseum Center for Contemporary Art, Maimo, Sweden; Magasin 3 Konsthall, Stockholm, Sweden; the Lannan Foundation, Santa Fe; the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; and the Tate Modern, London. She is the recipient of two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships and the 2004 Guggenheim Fellowship. Her work is represented by ACME., Los Angeles, and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York.

The Henry Art Gallery in Seattle exhibited a survey of her work in November 2000, which traveled to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Houston in 2001. In the fall of 2004, Uta Barth, a comprehensive survey of her work was published by Phaidon Press, London, as part of the Phaidon Contemporary Artist series. The exhibition is accompanied by white blind (bright red), a 64-page, full color catalogue with an essay by Jan Tumlir. Uta Barth is organized by SITE Santa Fe, courtesy of the artist; ACME., Los Angeles; and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York.

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