Oxford School of Photography

insights into photography

Sublimely Mundane: Uta Barth

On the ever interesting Faded+Blurred I found this for you, you will either get it or you won’t



At first glance, the photographs of Uta Barth may not make much of an impact on you – then again, you may find them to be utterly compelling abstractions of color, form and texture. Since first discovering her work a couple years ago, I have found myself to be in the latter category. I am fascinated by her work, much in the same way I am by the work of people like Mark Rothko or even some of the work of Willem de Kooning from the 1940s – it’s the lack of any concrete Something that I find interesting, though Barth is really the only photographer that I can point to that affects me in the same way as the aforementioned painters. Bill and I discussed her on an episode of On Taking Pictures as part of a larger discussion around what does and does not constitute photography. While her work may be easy for some to dismiss, it is exactly the deceptive simplicity of the work that gives the photographs their strength – challenging the viewer to immerse themselves in their own perception to fully engage with them.

“My work is always first and foremost about perception.” – Uta Barth

In 2012, Uta Barth became a MacArthur Fellow, which is a prize awarded annually by the MacArthur Foundation to those individuals who “show exceptional merit and promise for continued and enhanced creative work. Fellows each receive a no-strings-attached stipend of $500,000 (raised to $625,000 in 2013) that is paid out over five years. Past winners have included artists, writers, biologists, economists, composers and in 2011, Jad Abumrad, the co-host ofRadiolab, one of my favorite podcasts. For more than 14 years, Barth has used the internal environment of her home as her exclusive source of inspiration and subject matter. “If I am interested in light and perception and this visual acuity to the mundane, fleeting, ephemeral everyday kind of information,” she says, “there’s no point in me going out to seek that out.”



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3 responses to “Sublimely Mundane: Uta Barth

  1. Gunilla April 29, 2014 at 7:38 am

    Just my sort of thing, I have always loved her work.

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