Barbara Kasten in Constructs, Abrasions, Melons and Cucumbers

Barbara Kasten on her work Studio Construct 17 in The Edge of Vision Interview Series by Aperture Foundation.

While many might consider Barbara Kasten, whose portfolio was featured in Aperture 136, one of the foremost artists pushing the limits of  the photography, she herself considers her work pushing the limits of painting, drawing, and sculpture more through a particular use of photography.

Kasten was one of the artist’s covered in Lyle Rexer’s 2009 volume The Edge of Vision, a history of abstraction in photography that traces the roots of what might be a contemporary revival of the mode to early ‘modernist’ photographers like Aaron Siskind and László Maholy-Nagy.  However, as she explains in an interview with The Photography Post, she prefers to distance herself from terms like ‘abstract’ or ‘modernist.’ “What I do,” she says, “is neither a continuation nor a departure from their work but a conceptual event of my own.”

Most non-representational art is an abstraction of some originally recognizable form. Kasten considers her work, on the other hand, “as a process that transforms itself into something else.  Beginning with a simple, transparent, non-representational form, I create the image as I work through the possibilities of sculptural and lighting combinations to a new point of perception.”

She photographs assemblages that are built with mirrors, plexiglass, paper, and highly specific lighting situations, not to last, but for the sole purpose of the photograph. She distances her work from the discourse of engaging with the ‘real,’ and levels instead a strict focus on the sheer phenomenon of light.

Her latest exhibition, Constructs, Abrasions, Melons and Cucumbers with sculptor Justin Beal, opening Thursday, June 21, 2012 at Bortolami Gallery in New York (on view through August 3, 2012), is an attempt to explore the ways the artist tends to “mis”-lead the audience’s first reading of the work.

Find more about Kasten’s “approach to photography and what it means to ‘think like a painter’,” in another interview with Anthony Pearson of Frieze Magazine.

Constructs, Abrasions, Melons and Cucumbers
Opening reception:
Thursday June 21, 2012 at 6:00 pm

Exhibition on view:
Through August 3, 2012

Bartolami Gallery
520 West 20 St
New York, NY
(212) 727-2050