At the Galleries
by Karen Wilkin
At James Barron Art, in Kent, Connecticut, the beautifully installed “Jeannette Montgomery Barron/Laura de Santillana: Mirrors and Glass” paired works by an American photographer and an Italian sculptor. Montgomery Barron’s minimalist images of smallish round or oval mirrors, poised on slender bases, ranged from soft silver gelatin prints to crisp, lushly-hued pigment prints. Rather than reading as austere still lifes, the photographs of these anonymous, everyday objects become “portraits,” heads on slim necks, sometimes confronting us, sometimes turning away. They seem introspective, self-contained, as if Montgomery Barron had captured her sitters unawares. That mood was intensified by the proximity of de Santillana’s subtle, reticent sculptures: blunt, compressed rectangles of hand-blown glass enclosing stacked blocks of color. The vaguely head-like proportions of these elegant objects reverberated with Montgomery Barron’s “mirror portraits,” but the trapped, translucent hues within the rectangles also had associations with the larger world—with the sky, water, and light of Venice, where de Santillana lives and works, for example. Seen frontally, her glass pieces seemed connected to abstract painting—perhaps Rothko, scaled down and luminous—but from an oblique view, where the thickness of the enveloping clear glass became visible, these seductive objects were at once declaratively about their material presence and evanescent.
The two very different bodies of work entered into a fascinating conversation. De Santillana’s pieces underscored the physical properties of Montgomery Barron’s subjects in new ways, reminding us of the “glassiness” of mirrors, while the understated geometry of the photographs—the nuanced relationship of ovals and circles to the rectangles or squares of the field—made us consider freshly the shape and proportions of the sculptures’ color blocks. That color was ravishing, but among the most memorable pairings in the show was a group of de Santillana’s sculptures celebrating the power of transparency and silvery greys, with a selection of Montgomery Barron’s ephemeral silver gelatin prints. Who ever thought that color had to be chromatic to be expressive?
Paul Laster review MIRRORS and GLASS for WHITEHOT MAGAZINE
I try to apply colors like words that shape poems, like notes that shape music. – Joan Miró
Color—or the lack of it—is a central feature of the art of Jeannette Montgomery Barron and Laura de Santillana, the two artists currently paired together in the engaging exhibition “Mirrors and Glass” at James Barron Art in Kent, Connecticut. Comingled by color and form, their juxtaposed photo and glass works create a conceptual pas de deux for the gallery’s modernist style space.
Opening Saturday, September 8, 2018: Mirrors and Glass at James Barron Art
Jeannette Montgomery Barron and Laura de Santillana
Opening Reception: Saturday, September 8, 2018 from 4 - 6 pm
Our exhibition examines the remarkable visual parallels between Jeannette Montgomery Barron's photographs of mirrors and Laura de Santillana's glass sculptures. These two artists were born one year apart - Laura de Santillana in Venice, Italy, and Jeannette Montgomery Barron in Atlanta, Georgia - and both have worked continually between the U.S. and Italy. Without knowing one another's work until very recently, the two artists have steadily developed a minimalist aesthetic and an exploration of color through repetition of form. This is the first time their work has been exhibited together.
Jeannette Montgomery Barron's works are in numerous public and corporate collections, including The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; The High Museum of Art, Atlanta; Kunsthaus, Zurich; Collezione Maramotti, Reggio Emilia, Italy; The Archivio Fotografico, American Academy in Rome and The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh.
Laura de Santillana's works are in numerous public collections, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles; The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Murano Glass Museum, Venice; The Corning Museum of Glass, New York; Cooper-Hewitt Museum, New York; Seattle Art Museum, Seattle; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh and Museum of Art and Design, New York.
For the past few years we have been joining photographer Jeannette Montgomery Barron regularly, for dinners and lunches, in her adopted home of Italy, via a beautiful series of images she has slowly compiled and posted teasingly on Instagram. That we are thousands of miles away and have not so much as shared a bite makes no difference. These are not foodie pics. While these are meals attended by Barron, we do not see any food and are not given any clues to the whereabouts of these establishments. Yet we can hear everything in these photographs. The almost inconsequential “Let's eat out”, quickly followed by reaching for the house keys, no changing—maybe just wrapping a scarf around your throat—then walking around the corner and in to the familiarity of the place where you are known and simply, deliciously fed.
These photos capture a range of restaurants, mostly Roman. From plastic plaid tablecloths to smooth, reassuring white linens, we wonder what that meal was like and with whom did she dine. Tables are laid with clues, from perfect pre-meal symmetry, to the sensual mess of tables loitered at; others, neatly ravaged with emptied espresso cups, stubbed cigarette butts, and what we can only imagine are the dredges of a great conversation left behind.
These images have been nagging us. They deceptively simple, but they provoke and attract us. What is it? Have we missed something?
We finally realize, yes, we have missed something. In the hyperbolic explosion of food culture, absurdist real estate dramas, and the ubiquitous tonnage of "branding", we have in America mislaid the ultimate comfort of the neighborhood spot. With her elemental, reserved images, Barron has broken our hearts as we long for all the iterations of these we lost in the US. These are the places you and your team eat at several times a week. Usually the same meal, or a variation on one, or one requested and prepared by the chef for a regular. The place you have a few preferred tables, you know the waitstaff by name. Where the proprietor is a friend by virtue of having had so many small pleasant conversations in passing, where the details of one another's lives slowly are revealed after so many visits. You know their kids, grandparents, and vacation schedules. The food is lovely, but one initially is going for convienence, which gives way to dependablity and reassurance. This meal out is the solution to a busy day that does not represent a luxury. It is rather a community and a comfort.
In these images we are also reminded of the value of the ritual of the shared meal. At these tables, our lives are shaped, with conversations supported by bowls of steaming pasta, a particularly tasty salad, a glass of house red. No prep, no dishes to distract us. Perhaps we also feel nostalgia for a time when the end of the day meant reuniting with one’s people, to recap the day, a system quite obsolete now that we text, DM and WhatsApp our way from waking to sleeping. Maybe it is also a mirage, of urban middle class life that Italy has managed to preserve, mostly expunged from our Americans cities. It seems exotic now, doesn’t it? At Jeannette's brilliant suggestion, we have asked her friend, the writer Chiara Barzini to populate the photos of her choosing with small scraps of fictional lives, as if overheard at a neighboring table. http://ladyworld.tv
Upstate Diary is interested in the lifestyles of people creating in close proximity to nature, and the places they have found in their search for richer, less distracted lives. The future, like our cover and the meaning of “upstate,” feels wide open indeed…
Twelve page spread featuring photographs taken by Jeannette Montgomery Barron of Nancy Olnick and Giorgio Spanu with writing by Stephen Greco.
25 covers for the 25 anniversary of Purple Magazine. Cindy Sherman photographed by Jeannette Montgomery Barron.
"For our 25th anniversary issue, Purple celebrates the artists and models who incarnated the spirit of the magazine through their style, attitude, and personality: Cindy Sherman, Richard Prince, Paul McCarthy, Michèle Lamy, Susan Cianciolo… Stella and Eva… Amanda Wall, Maurizio Cattelan, Paul Hameline… and more."
A View of One's Own: Three Women Photographers in Rome: Esther Boise Van Deman, Georgina Masson and Jeannette Montgomery Barron.
This selection of photographs of Rome and its environs by three women, drawn in part from the Photographic Archive of the American Academy in Rome, confronts the Eternal City and its urban transformation over more than a century, from the Belle Époque to the present day. The exhibition traces the emergence of photography as an independent medium wielded by women with distinctive viewpoints, as it evolved from a documentary aid to a vehicle for subjective expression. Seen in succession against a photographic landscape defined for the most part by men, the images posit another way of seeing the city's history. In these photographs, taken by female flâneurs, empirical observations of bricks and mortar progressively dissolve into pure, evanescent experience.
Catalog for exhibition A View of One's Own - Three Women Photographers in Rome: Esther Van Deman, Georgina Masson, Jeannette Montgomery Barron.
This exhibition, drawn in part from the holdings of the Photographic Archive of the American Academy in Rome, features a selection of photographs by foreign women in Rome from three successive generations. Their work confronts aspects of the Eternal City and its urban transformation over more than a century, from the Belle Époque to the present day.
This exhibition was curated by Lindsay Harris, Peter Benson Miller, and Angela Piga.
MIRRORS. Montgomery Barron's first exhibition of black and white MIRRORS opened at Magazzino in May 2004. She has continued photographing mirrors since then, in color. The exhibition opens on November 9, 2016.
A VIEW OF ONE’S OWN: THREE WOMEN PHOTOGRAPHERS IN ROME.
ESTHER VAN DEMAN, GEORGINA MASSON, JEANNETTE MONTGOMERY BARRON
This event is part of the series New Work in the Arts & Humanities: American Classics. This exhibition features a selection of photographs by foreign women in Rome from three successive generations, all of them connected to the American Academy. Their work confronts aspects of the Eternal City and its urban transformation over more than a century, from the Belle Époque to the present day. At the same time, it tracks the emergence of photography as an independent medium wielded by women with distinctive viewpoints, as it evolved from a documentary aid to a vehicle for subjective, even gendered expression. The protagonists are American archaeologist Esther Van Deman, who photographed Rome and its surroundings in the 1910s; Georgina Masson, author of the classic guidebook,The Companion Guide to Rome, that has shaped foreigners’ experiences of Rome since the 1950s; and contemporary photographer Jeannette Montgomery Barron, whose images capture glimpses of Rome as seen by an American living abroad in the Eternal City, folding them into a wandering, meditative reverie. Seen in succession against a photographic landscape of Rome defined for the most part by men, these photographs posit another way of seeing the city’s history. Taken by female flâneurs, empirical observations of bricks and mortar progressively dissolve into pure, evanescent experience. A View of One’s Own is curated by Lindsay Harris, Peter Benson Miller, and Angela Maria Piga.
Inaugural Lecture Zoe Strauss 13 October 2016 6pm, AAR Lecture Room
Lecture Letizia Battaglia 3 November 2016 6:30pm, AAR Lecture Room
Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, 4pm-7pm until 27 November 2016
Musée Magazine issue 15 features JMB photos with André Aciman essay, "ROME IS."
Read more at museemagazine.com
Upstate Diary is about the creative possibilities that thrive in communities outside of city limits. The ways that natural beauty and the challenges of rural life inform and influence the creative process form common themes among most of the artists we feature. Upstate in this context is truly about a state of mind.
We hope that you will learn something new, become inspired by these stories and be inspired to explore.
Upstate Diary is the brainchild of Swedish Photographer and Director Kate Orne, formally an editor at Interview Magazine.
More than a book, a personal diary where the photographer has jotted down notes, collected photographs shot in studios, homes and clubs, letters, and mementos of events linked to her life in New York in the Eighties, further enriched by artists' recollections of that period.
A journey that certainly does not want to be philological but intimate and minimalistic, in its attempt to convey the sense of a special moment in time to those who had not experienced it.
Contributions by: John Ahearn, James Barron, Mike Bidlo, Ross Bleckner, James Brown, Sandro Chia, Enzo Cucchi, Peter Halley, Annette Lemieux, Peter McGough, Jeannette Montgomery Barron, Luigi Ontani
From Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat, to Andy Warhol and Bianca Jagger, she has shot them all. Known for the black and white portraits of key figures on the New York underground scene in the 1980s that appeared in Interview, Vanity Fair and Vogue, Jeannette Montgomery Barron has brought some of her best together in Scene, an intimate selection of work. Some of the most powerful and poetic shots will be on show at concept store colette in Paris until May 4. We spoke to Jeanette for the inside story behind some iconic images.
More information upon request.