The Michael Hoppen Gallery is delighted to present a selection of new still lives from American photographer Jeff Bark’s latest body of work, Paradise Garage. Our exhibition, opening June 26th, will run alongside his solo show at the Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome (7th June – 29th July).
For this series, Bark transformed his small, blank-walled garage in upstate New York into an unlikely theatre for scenes created through the dense layering of iconographic references to the art of the past. Bark’s approach is at once meticulous and cinematic, resembling more closely the cumulative development of painting than the instantaneous assembly of many photographic compositions.
This new project originated two years ago, when a visit to Rome inspired Bark to explore his own version of the 18th Century’s Grand Tour. His vision animates seemingly insignificant details with new contextual meaning; souvenirs found in American flea markets assume elevated roles in grandiose compositions, whilst the backdrops to domestic landscapes are wryly peppered with allusions to famous paintings. Bark’s characteristic use of lighting and the ambiguity with which every detail is nurtured, render the image unexpected and faintly uncanny – the pictures might be stills snatched from a lost film reel.
Jeff Bark is renowned for both his sensual aesthetics and his technical acumen, which combined allow his photography to transform into a truly unique, and singular art. Each element is either consciously chosen, or meticulously created by Bark, who manages to thread the blank walls of his studios into dreamlike tapestries of photography.