Postmasters is thrilled to announce Family Portrait, Aneta Bartos’s debut solo exhibition with the gallery. The fifteen works in the show are a selection from Bartos’s current project, Family Portrait, exploring the father-daughter relationship and her memories growing up with her bodybuilder dad in Tomaszów Mazowiecki, Poland. The artist poses with her speedo-wearing father in various scenarios in her homeland. Their dynamic is complex, and digs into a dreamscape of memories, re-enacting fleeting moments and alluding to the joy, uninhibitedness, rebellion, and complexity inherent as a daughter grows up and comes of age. The work creates layers of possible meaning, drawing the viewer into a beautiful, compelling, and unnerving world.
Bartos’s parents separated when she was eight. Her mother moved to New York and Bartos remained in Poland to be raised by her dad. At age sixteen, she moved to New York to join her mother. Years later, she returned to Poland several times to create Family Portrait. Shot on both Polaroid and 126 film, in color and black and white, the works are seductive, unsettling, and at times humorous.
In a profile of Bartos for Photograph, Elisabeth Biondi writes: The pastoral setting is a romanticized portal to Bartos’s past. Her father’s poses are often heroic; at times the pictures are playful and flirty, almost seductive. Seen together, they display the sadness of a man who knows he is aging, with the subtext of his waning sexuality. They are bittersweet, images of time passing and memories being preserved.
Extending a tradition that arguably began with Diane Arbus’s disconcerting portraits of strangers, the images comprising Family Portrait are psychologically intense. For Bartos, this intensity is drawn out through intimacy, as in Marilyn Minter’s Coral Ridge Towers series, a haunting chronicle of familial estrangement. Building on such histories, while also incorporating self-portraiture—a tradition that has been rich, especially among female photographers, since Cindy Sherman’s Untitled Film Stills, to such a degree that it has become a rite of passage of sorts—Bartos’s photographs are uniquely autobiographical and fictive, candid and staged, intimate and strange.
Bartos received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts in 2001. Her most recent group shows include Nude, V1 Gallery, Copenhagen; Magic Mirror, Daniel Cooney, NY; NSFW: Female Gaze, Museum of Sex, NY; and Discursive Selves, Westbeth Gallery, NY.
Her work has been reviewed and featured in New York Magazine, Modern Painters,Photograph, Time Out, W Magazine, Vice, Interview, Elephant, and Secret Behavior, as well as online in publications such as Artforum, Vulture, Artinfo, Hyperallergic, Art in America, The Huffington Post, Forbes, and Time among others. Bartos recently received a Pollock Krasner Award to pursue her next body of work.