Liminal Ground: Adam Bartos
Long Island Photographs, 2009–2011
June 24, 2012 to September 4, 2012
The photographs of Adam Bartos convey a wistfulness for the off-grid, the overlooked, and the unremarkable—images of the places in between that might well go unrecorded were they not framed with his virtuoso camera. Much of his photography gives evidence to the effects of time. Bartos has created a series on such disparate subjects as the moribund Russian space program, the fading modernist glory of the U.N. building, and the changing Long Island landscape, both the built and natural environment.
“Much of my work,” he has said, “involves…some aspect of twentieth-century utopianism.” A native New Yorker, Bartos grew up spending weekends and summers in Huntington, Long Island, and now lives and works in New York City and East Hampton. He attended film school in New York in the 70s but was soon drawn into the burgeoning world of color photography, citing the influence of such early practitioners as William Eggleston and Stephen Shore. Bartos quickly developed a distinctive style that maintains a consistent distance in the photographs where a narrative, if any, is supplied by the viewer.
The exhibition will bring together sixteen of these lush and evocative pigment prints in a large-scale format that nonetheless remains photographic in scale. In his work on Long Island, a telling detail can furnish the tone of the work: the elegant script of the faded word “Florist” on a concrete block wall on County Road 80 in Southampton; the rusted chassis of a derelict pick-up truck in Greenport; a weathered and ramshackle ladder in Bay Shore. In locations from Copiague to Montauk, Bartos is drawn to what we pass without observing and schools our eye to the beauty and evanescence of the everyday.
The presentation of this exhibition is made possible, in part, by Dorothy Lichtenstein and Linda Hackett/ CAL Foundation.