Jeff Bark, Lucifer Falls Plate II, 2010. photo courtesy Hasted Hunt Kraeutler Gallery
“Emblematic of that peculiar hovering suspension that occurs in photography, a suspension that is also a distance between moments, between desire and act, between life and death, [Bark’s] works displace one’s sense of “the real” and effectively hold you in limbo.” Lucy Chadwick, catalog essay for Jeff Bark, 2007
JEFF BARK’s focus is to work with the established genres of still life, nudes, domestic interior and landscapes in a way that is new and unique to photography. This body of work, Lucifer Falls, follows three previous series that were acclaimed for their originality, psychological density and technical mastery, Abandon (2006), Woodpecker (2007) and Flesh Rainbow (2009). The new series of photographs of waterfalls and gorges is a departure from his earlier series for which he constructed elaborate sets in the studio; the photographs in Lucifer Falls were taken in the outdoors, where he had to direct and rearrange the elements of the scene just as he did in the studio for his prior work. The color palette and the muted light of twilight are the focus while mist hovers over the landscapes of jagged wet rocks, moss and surging water.
The imagery of this series has a long and varied lineage, from allegorical Renaissance landscapes to the paintings of Thomas Cole and the Hudson River School to Courbet’s paintings of waterfalls. In the tradition of these paintings, Bark is not documenting these landscapes; rather, he creates a visually and emotionally heightened world for the viewer to experience. Scenes of eerie calm contrast with those of high drama or suggestions of danger. The timeless figures in these scenes, shrouded in white garments like ghosts or sleepwalkers, are mostly concealed from the viewer, hiding their eyes, identities and gender. They emit an emotional intensity that pulls one into the drama of the scene. Images of epic scale, such as Plate IV (above), coexist with close up figure studies of the hands, legs, and torsos, showing the photographer’s mastery and control.
Sep 9 - Oct 16, 2010. Hasted Hunt Kraeutler Gallery www.hastedhuntkraeutler.com
Jeff Bark, Lucifer Falls Plate III, 2010. photo courtesy Hasted Hunt Kraeutler Gallery
Jeff Bark, Lucifer Falls Plate IV, 2010. photo courtesy Hasted Hunt Kraeutler Gallery
Jeff Bark, Lucifer Falls Plate V, 2010. photo courtesy Hasted Hunt Kraeutler Gallery
Jeff Bark, Lucifer Falls Plate XI, 2010. photo courtesy Hasted Hunt Kraeutler Gallery