Gallery 49 is pleased to present Camouflage, a mixed media
installation by New York artist Barbara Bachner opening on February
7, 2002. Featuring some of the artist’s most recent paintings,
sculpture and assemblage, as well as selections from an earlier acrylic
on canvas series entitled "Buried Dreams", the exhibition
deals with two interlocking themes: The transformation power of objects
viewed out of their normal context, plus the ability of the human
consciousness to disguise the deepest truths of an individual's life.
Camouflage is fundamentally the art of disguise, concealment, subterfuge
and hidden agendas. The camouflage material on the first level of
the gallery was made in East Germany during the Cold War, a period
known for its unsettled and potentially disastrous possibilities.
During this time, explains Bachner, a worldwide war seemed imminent
and people continued to function in daily life - much as we do today
- by using mental protective coloration. In this context, the netting
is a reminder of all wars of this century, as well as a metaphor for
our instinct (the instinct of the subconscious) to assume protective
coloration to enable us to believe we are in control, even in times
of danger and chaos. The shoes that "walk" across the camouflage
net are the artist's own shoes, worn and experienced. But modeling
paste and photo emulsions of natural phenomena, images taken in wild
settings, render them generic, rather than individual. The footprint
reliefs on the other walls are a permanent record of the transient
marks left by our steps.
Since 1999, Bachner has been "coloring" her shoes with hidden
messages that echo with past experiences, a literal "walking
back" through her own life. The quotations in the exhibition
on the sculptures and on the walls are from the artist's journals
and dreams of the last 25 years, as well as from authors whose work
offers psychological insight, such as Jane Austen, who observed and
recorded an entire society from her vantage point of a protected spinster.
Texture and dimensionality are used by the artist as a metaphor for
the intricate layering of the human mind. In actually producing the
work, Bachner relies on the process of layering, revealing and obscuring,
accumulation, alteration, change and the ability to welcome elements
of chance. Pieces like the domed shoe sculptures and the pink army
boots carry subversive messages about gender but also elicit smiles,
which is part of the artist's aim to evoke responses in the viewer,
both personal and idiosyncratic, so that she/he will reflect on the
tragic and comic aspects of his/her own existence.
will be on display February 7 - March 9, 2002 at Gallery 49, 322
West 49th Street (between 8th and 9th Avenues). A reception for the
artist will be held Thursday, February 7 from 6 to 8PM. Gallery 49
can be reached by subways E, C to 50th St. or N, R to 49th St. Hours:
Tuesday - Saturday 12 noon - 6PM and by appointment. For additional
information or visual material please contact us.