Opening Reception: Friday, August 28, 6-9 pm.A very special reading by Kate Clinton, author, actress, stand-up humorist, and activist. Wednesday, August 26, 7 pm.
Current Model: New York City Dumpsters
“Looking back over the years of my career as a painter and sculptor, a common denominator for my imagery continues to be the square and the circle. Constantly recycling textural surfaces of previous paintings, I begin each new work with a trace of the geometric forms that came before: a gentle pentimento lifting the inner spirit to what is yet to be.
This sampling of my own visual imagery, blending tones of past and present, is the motor that keeps me charged to take simple, everyday objects to their point of exhaustion: working line and color to what feels like a temporary conclusion. And just when I think I’ve finished, the dance continues for another round; an even more relentless stretch of mind and matter until the hunt for ways to see a particular form – my own Platonic quest – mysteriously ends, only to be replaced by another ubiquitous yet singular item.
Most recently, it was the almost empty traces of the Venetian Sling, a commonplace yet culturally unique part of Venetian landscape that embodies positive and negative space. The more I worked its form, the more possibilities possessed me. The Venetian streets are also filled with small, colorful “pipes”: their blending of circle and rectangle caught my eye as a subject for exploration.
These days New York City trash containers on wheels are my passion, those every day, mostly overlooked and none too tidy boxes that get towed from demolition sites to incinerator vehicles.
The boxy, rusted, colorful figures bring back the colors and shapes of my Pennsylvania youth, box carts at the Hershey Amusement Park fair grounds or Wheelie toys zooming down roller-coaster ramps, with their tones of indigo blues, forest greens, fire engine reds, sunflower yellow and mandarin oranges: flickers of color memory lights the spirit against the hardcore edge of New York.
The dumpsters stand tall, slender and strong regardless of how they are tossed and torn around. I’m taken by their holding of tons of waste and useless debris. The hard-hat fellows on the job “don’t get it,” but they generously assist in posing the armatures for the camera. How could a tossed-around piece of street furniture get a rise so high? Perhaps that’s the definition of my work: to be captivated, caught up in a quest. The process of editing such basic shapes follows its own logic, as the work unfolds for weeks, months and years on end.”
Barbara Cohen received her B.F.A. from Tufts University and the School of Museum of Fine Arts in Boston with earlier studies in art history at Oxford University. She has received numerous grants including the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, the Artists Foundation Mass Fellowship Program, Polaroid Artist Support Program, Blanche E. Colman Award and grants from the Cambridge and Massachusetts Arts Councils. She received an artist’s residency from the Emily Harvey Foundation in Venice, Italy and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Barbara has exhibited her paintings and sculpture in numerous galleries and museums across the country.
Barbara is the author of the current book, Venezia: Essenze, 2013, a series of painted Polaroids of Venice, Italy, published by the Italian editor, Damocle. She is also the author of New York Love Affair, 2010, a collection of painted Polaroids of New York City, and Dog in the Dunes Revisited, 2005, published by Fields Publishing. The original Dog in the Dunes, 1998, a series of painted photographs of her black Labrador, Gabe, set in the dunes of Cape Cod, was published by Andrews McMeel. Provincetown ‘East West’, a selection of her painted Polaroid landscapes of this small seaside town, was published in 2002 by University Press of New England. Her other books include, Woman's Best Friend; A Celebration of Dogs and their Women 1996, published by Little Brown and Company as well as, Dogs and their Women, 1989, Cats and their Women, 1992, and Horses and their Women, 1993.
SUPERSTARZ + Profiles
Most of these images were culled from my book “Fabulous! A Photographic Diary of Studio 54” taken at the most famous nightclub of all time during the first 3 years of its existence 1977 to 1979. So many superstars passed through those doors and I was lucky to capture them. Other images like Debra Harry, the lead singer from “Blondie,” Donna Summer, the great Disco era singer, and Chrissteen the most recent punk rock performer were taken elsewhere and more recently.
I chose the title “SUPERSTARZ” because each of these artists do indeed fit into that category. For me a superstar is an artist who has become a household name and are known by millions around the world.
Though the original images were shot in black and white and on 35 mm film, I decided that I wanted to pay homage to my friend Andy Warhol for his own colorful silk screens in which he created the idea of Pop Art by color blocking the background of each photo with vivid colors that I chose for each image.
In this era of “selfies” I chose to include my own self portrait in this collection even though it was shot in 1977 and reflects my excitement during that time period of having photographic access to such great luminaries.
All images are from the original negative format and printed on archival velvet fine art paper and printed with archival inks.
Bobby Miller is a performance poet, writer, actor and photographer. He is the author of four books of poetry; "Benestrific Blonde", "Mouth of Jane",”Troubleblonde” and "Rigamarole". He has been published in many magazines and periodicals including Verbal Abuse, Vice Magazine, UHF Magazine and the Village Voice. He is included in The 1995 American Book Award winning "Aloud: Voices From The Nuyorican Poets Cafe", "Verses That Hurt; Pleasure And Pain From The Poemfone Poets” and “The Outlaw Bible Of American Poetry”, which was listed on the top ten Poetry National Bestseller List. Mr. Miller’s book, "Fabulous! A Photographic Diary Of Studio 54", 144 black and white photographs with text, was published by St. Martin's Press in September 1998, He is also the author “A Downtown State of Mind: NYC 1973 – 1983”, “Wigstock in Black & White: 1985 – 2005”, “Jackie 60 Nights”, “Amina”, “Queer Nation”, “PORTRAITS: Volumes 1 – 3”, ”Ptown Peeps” Volumes 1 , 2 and 3, “Forget Them Not”, ”Fetish and Fairytale Folk”, “Diva’s, Dudes & Dandies”, and “Fabulous! A Photographic Diary of Studio 54: REDUX”.
His work has been exhibited in NYC, Palm Springs and Provincetown at AMP Gallery, Patty DeLuca Gallery and Woodman Shimko Gallery. Bobby has been taking photographs since 1974. He studied photography with Lisette Model in 1976 in NYC at The New School during the last year of her life.