Manifest is the first solo exhibition in the Pacific Northwest for Upstate New York-based artist Richard Barlow. Barlow’s artistic practice is strongly rooted in his interest in photography, its chemical and quasi-alchemical beginnings, and its ability to depict, represent, and reproduce. Manifest showcases three ongoing series of works by the artist in a variety of media exploring photography’s origins and intersections with the natural world.
The Photogenic Drawing series makes use of positive and negative space to reimagine one of the oldest photos ever created: Henry Fox-Talbot’s 1835 photograph of a large window at Laycock Abbey in rural England. The Covers series presents another exploration of photography as ‘light drawing’ (photo: light; graph: drawing), with mysteriously evocative images of the natural world—trees, mountains, water—rendered in silver leaf on vellum, a process almost medieval in its craft and care.
These twenty-first century explorations of twentieth century modernism and the temporality of the natural world lead to Barlow’s major intervention for BAM’s Boeing Apertures Gallery. Manifest, the exhibition’s title piece, will be an 800 square foot chalk drawing recreating the mystery and majesty of ancient woodland, a perfect subject for the Pacific Northwest, along the gallery’s south wall. BAM visitors will be able to view the artist at work on this chalk drawing from July 2 - 14. This new work is designed to be as temporal as the boreal forests and as fleeting as a developing photograph. It will be destroyed at the end of the exhibition, and exist only in our memories, or in the photographs that we take.