Exhibition Review: Tina Barney, "Landscapes"
Review by: Billy Anania
Tina Barney’s new "Landscapes" series at Paul Kasmin Gallery shows another side of the American photographer’s diverse body of work. Known for her extravagant portraits of the upper-class milieu, Barney instead focuses on suburban streets, beaches and architecture.
Photos from this series were taken in the 1980s and in 2017, when Barney decided to revisit the format. These landscapes share similarities with much of her best-known work in their composition and scale. Within each sweeping frame, Barney includes an array of subjects such as amusement park rides, athletic events and abandoned drive-in theaters. She walks the line between seclusion and celebration, simultaneously conveying the tranquility of solitude and the comfort of other people.
But even when athletes and partygoers populate her photos, Barney stays true to the landscape format. No one subject holds precedence over any other. Rather, the overall scene and its many components form a singular vision. This is clear in “Bike Parade,” a sunny street scene from July 4, 2017 with pedestrians, cars, balloons and freshly mowed lawns. Similarly, “4th of July on Beach” from 1989 evokes the clamour of neighborhood parties, and the breezy leisure of a summer holiday.
Taken with an 8x10” view camera, Barney’s landscapes widen the scope of her subject matter but remain true to her style. The colors in each photo are highly refined, emphasizing the contrast of surface layers. Embedded in each piece is a sense of nostalgia, an homage to places and the people who inhabit them.
Landscapes will be on display until March 3rd at 297 Tenth Avenue. For more information, visit www.paulkasmingallery.com/exhibition/tina-barney--landscapes.