This is the artist’s first New York solo exhibition in the past three years, and her second at the gallery, following major recent exhibitions at the Kunsthalle Wien in 2017 and the New Orleans Museum of Art in 2015. In September 2017 Rizzoli USA published Tina Barney, a comprehensive monograph spanning her four-decade international career.
Alongside her oeuvre of portraits portraying the daily life of the social elite that Barney is most known for, exists an entire series of landscape photographs taken by Barney using her 8 by 10-inch view camera. Barney first began her experimentation with landscape photography in the late 1980s and would not revisit the subject again until the summer of 2017. Returning to her familiar New England backdrop, Barney champions distant views of shingled houses, rocky coastlines, small town thoroughfares and main street squares, challenging herself out-of-doors to refine and build upon her mastery of compositional tactics. With these landscapes, Barney takes new ownership over the large format medium of color photography, employing the same sophisticated devices but with an expanded field of vision.
Perhaps at first glance, these outdoor scenes appear as a radical departure by Barney, but upon closer observation, one perceives the intimate candidness and strong sense of American nostalgia that are all hallmarks of her work. Capturing families and friends at informal moments of American, predominantly Northeastern, society through her humanist lens, Barney consistently demonstrates that life in this rarified world is idiosyncratic and spontaneous in its own way. These landscapes encapsulate the ‘fly-on-the-wall’ sensation of her portraits, and perhaps offer a parallel picture of these same families outside of their home, and in their immediate, acquainted surroundings.
Tina Barney began photographing in the mid-1970s in Sun Valley, Idaho, and in 1983 shifted to a large format camera upon returning to New York City. Her photographs are in numerous public collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; among many others. Barney's works were included in the 1987 Whitney Biennial, and recent solo exhibitions include The Europeans at the Frist Center in Nashville; and The Europeans at the Barbican Art Gallery, London, which traveled to the Museum of Art, Salzburg, Austria. In 2015, along with fellow American Photographer Stephen Shore, Barney spent many hours over an 18-month period photographing the Noguchi Museum and its visitors for a Phaidon book, The Noguchi Museum: A Portrait. This past year, Barney was awarded the distinctive honor of participating as a lecturer and the sole photographer for the Museum of Modern Art, New York’s The August Sander Project; a collaboration with Columbia University. Barney (b. 1945) currently lives and works in New York City and Westerly, Rhode Island.