Barbara Bachner
FEBRUARY 07 - MARCH 09, 2002



Press Release

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.

"Camouflage" 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.

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