Carson Barnes Exhibition
Born in Monterey, CA 1956, reared in Maryland with convenient proximity to the National Gallery (my mother had her BA in art history from Wellesley, ’52). I began painting at 8, silkscreen printing in 1971, and photography in 1974, photo silkscreen in an industrial shop in LA in 1975; BA in fine arts Haverford College, 1978, printmaking and photography; went back to California in 1979, and made silkscreen prints constantly, MFA California College of the Arts, Oakland, CA 1989, printmaking. Working from my photographs of sculptures in Photoshop, using layers much as I ever did in screen printing but more precisely. It’s a must to do the printing myself, because it’s my job to make with all the skill I can. I use the same uncoated French paper in making these photo prints that I used in silkscreen printing, the image comes out just slightly softer, fleshier, analog, than the digital image. I moved to rural Georgia from California in 2012. I doubt I’d have begun this contemplative work if I had remained in busy California; I see no end to it.
After photographing live models and hand pulling photosilkscreen prints for 45 years I now photograph and “bring to life” female portrait statues.
These women’s stories are legion, many heartbreaking, some are sweet. They were allowed to show emotions forbidden to men, so are a record of how life felt then: childbirth often fatal, disease swept many away, famines and wars ever possible. I find who they were, who sculpted them, why. Several views may combine for a 2D image, even as we mentally combine views of sculpture to comprehend them. These forgotten women: I am their medium, this is my calling. It feels as though some feminine power chose me and it’s burning me up. To remember them is to honor them; I depict them to celebrate them. I hope you can’t stop looking at them.
They deserve remembrance.
I work from my raw images in Photoshop on an iMac, using layers much as I ever did in screenprinting but more precisely. It’s a must to do the printing myself, it’s my job to make with all my skill.