Friday, August 5, 2011

A Proclamation

Nick Barbee makes objects, simply constructed from modest materials—plaster, concrete, balsa wood, or orange peels. These authored objects take on an organic life cycle; perhaps similar to the life of a silver gelatin print that has not been fixed properly—the black and white developing process of revealing the image if not administered correctly leads to obscuring the image created. The objects represent a list of banal subjects from a canoe, to a hatchet, or an abstract geometric form. Barbee allows them to follow three various modes of display: the physical objects arranged into a still life grouping on a shelf, a photograph of the individual object for an artist book compilation, and a photograph of a slice of the arranged objects. In the end, the photographs here become a partial representation of the relational interdependence of the complicated—and yet still to be worked out—boundary line between photography and sculpture. Barbee’s images reflect the gap and distance between the two mediums, and inverting or scrambling this relationship leaves us left to decipher the points of tension and connection of representation and presence.

[images: Nick Barbee, Marvelous, Enneadecahedron, A Proclamation, (2010-2011); mixed media; dimensions variable]