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Our Shared Past: Highlight on Jessie Barnes



Written by Nicole Gaudier

A statement from the artist:

“’The photograph is literally an emanation of the referent. From a real body, which was there, proceed radiations which ultimately touch me, who am here…A sort of umbilical cord links the body of the photographed thing to my gaze: light, though impalpable, is here a carnal medium, a skin that I share with anyone who has been photographed.’

-Roland Barthes, from Duchamp’s Boite-en-valise; T.J. Demos

Jessie Barnes, Haunting,2013, from the film still Haunting, Oil on canvas

Jessie Barnes, Haunting, 2013, from the film still Haunting, Oil on canvas

Photographic media have proven to be invariably intriguing to our newest generations. They provide for us a sustainable, tangible reference for an otherwise fleeting, elusive moment that may not have survived in the form of a memory alone. Furthermore, there’s something quite ethereal about the nature of a photographic portrait. It serves as a portal to our past, be it reflective or restorative, and is often charged with a certain familiarity, regardless of time or character.

Here, photography slips beyond representation. In Haunting, a pair of eyes gazes out at you from behind an invisible shield of time, simultaneously connecting the immortal with mortal; memory with physicality. As we enter this painting, we are halted by an abrupt sense of invasion. What is the meaning of this moment? Is she mid-sentence, angry, seductive? The ambiguous environment seems transient and temporary; the clothing’s detail has been paid little attention to, like that of a distant memory. But that stare is permanently and richly engrained as the subject fills her space…and ours.”


Jessie Barnes ‘s work  Haunting will be in the Our Shared Past exhibition, on view in the Stein Gallery from December 17, 2013 to May 25, 2014.

There will be artist appearances at the Stein Gallery January through April. Each Saturday, artists from the exhibition will be in the Gallery from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.  Others will make appearances throughout the day on Weaver Free Saturdays, and on Tuesday evenings during the exhibition.

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