Studio Construct 15, 2007, Archival pigment print, 43.75x53.75 in
Studio Construct 8, 2007, Archival pigment print, 43.75x53.75 in

Studio Construct 17, 2007

"The process of capturing an image through a camera lens requires “an object.” This body of work addresses the representational value of that object. By photographing a transparent plane, and its shadow, familiar association with life experience is eliminated. The result is a “concrete photographic” abstract image." - Barbara Kasten

Regarding her recent solo exhibition, Abstracting…Light, held at the wonderful Almine rech Gallery in France in May-June 2010, Karsten wrote that:
The occurrence of light hitting a plane is distinctive from the recording of the same light thru the lens of a camera. A unique vision occurs through the optical prism that can be captured and ultimately printed, yet cannot be seen by the naked eye. As I directed light on various parts of transparent planes and studied it in the back of a view camera, multicolored abrasions activating the surface appeared. The scratches become a color field of drawing over a normally invisible sheet of plastic. The perception of a ‘thing’, a recordable reality of representation, is basic to the photographic process. In the series “Incidence”, the rendering of light becomes abstract interpretation of surface and form. However, I do not think of the photograph’s construction in terms of abstraction but as an event. Many abstract notions are conjured up as we view this unique recording of materiality. The synthesis of abstract form and our imagination presents a means of seeing the process of lighting. This phenomenon is the subject of my new work and exhibit ‘abstracting…light’.

Barbara Kasten's Construct's are currently on show at London's Carl Freedman Gallery alongside the work of Alexanda Leykauf and at the Cornell Fine Arts Museum in The Edge of Vision Exhibition. The Studio Constructs are perhaps her most muted works - concerned more with the transparency and fleeting physicality of the space as compared with the colour of her earlier work. This depicts a clear turning point for Karsten, from the Moholy-Nagy/Bauhaus influence towards the use of light a la James Turrell. Other artists using similar methods of constructed environments and photography include Eileen Quinlan (whose work I also adore) and Sara VanderBeek