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Lorna Bieber's newest creation 'Tapestry' on view at the George Eastman Museum
Lorna Bieber (American, b. 1949). Tapestry, 2014–15. Inkjet print. Courtesy of the artist. © Lorna Bieber.

ROCHESTER, NY.- For more than twenty years, artist Lorna Bieber has made the world of reproduced photographic images the subject of her work. The George Eastman Museum is showing Bieber’s newest creation, Tapestry (2015) as part of the exhibition Fabrications, organized by the museum. Lorna Bieber: Fabrications will be on view through June 5.

Trained as a painter, Bieber became interested in photography while working for large-circulation magazines in the late 1980s. She subsequently developed a working method in which she photocopies stock images and then enlarges, reduces, and paints and/or draws on them until the images become thoroughly her own. In her earliest works of this type, she photographed the results and presented them as individual large-scale gelatin silver prints or as grids of 11×17-inch photographs that form monumental panels. In later work, she presents the photocopies themselves mounted onto panels and arranged into enormous grids. Tapestry, making its premiere at the Eastman Museum, represents a new approach in that the final photocopies are digitally imaged and printed on fabric.

Like that of the medieval wall hangings to which its title refers, Tapestry’s iconography speaks volumes about the culture from which it derives. In this case, the image-saturated world of early 21st-century life expands beyond the viewer’s peripheral vision, suggesting the ease with which the circulation of images can displace both real-world communication and natural experience in contemporary society.

Bieber’s earlier work consisted primarily of natural elements—trees, animals, flowers—but recently, she has addressed more figurative, allegorical, and art historical subjects. Fabrications is a collection of several subjects, both natural and figurative.

“The minimal nature of Lorna Bieber’s work—palette reduced to black and white, forms restricted to existing imagery—resolves into a rich visual experience in which nature and artifice confound our perceptual habits and enliven our pleasure in seeing,” said Lisa Hostetler, curator in charge, Department of Photography, George Eastman Museum.

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