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Review: Thomas Barrow at Joseph Bellows Gallery

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, October 1, 2014


Thomas Barrow : The Fashion Show


Through November 1, 2014


The unique prints from Thomas Barrow’s Fashion series were executed between 1965 and 1970, but remain fresh.  They root in art history, marking a shift in the way we think about the nature of photography as an art form and a device.  These works, among Barrow’s other series, were a direct challenge to the existing photographic currents, and acted as counterpoint to the idea that photography is an unadulterated view of the world. 


The images in Fashion are layered; their composition and qualities are physical, almost tactile.  The frames visually pulse with energy that can be perceived as both seductive and dangerous.  The Fashion series was composed through camera-less photography, and includes the use of such diverse techniques as solarization, negative printing, superimposing, montage, and abstraction.  Appropriation from magazine and other popular media sources literally connect the work to the content Barrow was exploring, including notions of beauty, advertising, and consumerism.  The prints are inverted, and appear in negative rather than positive view.  This distorts our vision, and effectively turns the content on its head.  We experience an undoing of expectation.  The fact that they still read as industry or advertisement images makes us want to examine the constructions of desire and the visual “sales pitch” behind what is proposed to us as ideal. 

For more information on this exhibition, or to view the works online, visit Joseph Bellows Gallery.



Image Information:

Thomas Barrow, Defender (1968)

Courtesy of Joseph Bellows Gallery 




Tags:  Joseph Bellows Gallery  Thomas Barrow 

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