BARBARA KASTEN | Photogram Painting Untitled 77/22

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Photogram Painting Untitled 77/22, 1977
Oil on silver gelatin mural paper on canvas
78 x 68 in


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The Artist
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A Point of View: Recent Works by Four Los Angeles Artists, Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA, 1977. Callis, Kasten, Zimmerman, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, 1977.
Barbara Kasten: STAGES, Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, 2015; Barbara Kasten: STAGES, The Graham Foundation, Chicago, IL, 2015-16; Barbara Kasten: STAGES, Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA, 2016. Sharjah Biennial, Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, 2019.

Barbara Kasten (American, b. 1936 in Chicago, Illinois) makes photographs and video projections in her studio that evoke an experience of movement through modernist architecture. While abstract, her work is subversively political, asking viewers to fundamentally question their perceptions. Trained as a sculptor, Kasten began to investigate photography through cyanotypes of fabrics and photograms of objects placed directly on the paper.

This led her to photograph elaborate compositions of objects in the studio—such as Platonic shapes, paper, plexiglass, and wire—often illuminated by theatrical lighting and colored gels. When recorded by her large-format camera—and without digital manipulation—Kasten’s arrangements become ambiguous in scale, confusing in spatial dimensions, and uncertain in differentiation between surface, shape, and shadow.

On a grander scale, Kasten also pictures architectural spaces and landscapes, manipulating the environment through carefully placed mirrors and dramatic gemlike tones. Kasten’s video projections of rotating objects and planes of drifting color, cast onto building exteriors and interiors, destabilize the architecture through the optical fragmentation of forms.

Barbara Kasten attended California College of Arts and Crafts (MFA, 1970) and University of Arizona, Tucson (BFA, 1959). Kasten has had major exhibitions at Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg (2020); MOCA Pacific Design Center (2016); Hammer Museum (2016); Worcester Art Museum (2016); The Graham Foundation (2015); ICA Philadelphia (2015); Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin (2015); Museum of Modern Art, Frankfurt (2015); New Mexico Museum of Art, Santa Fe (2015); Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, Toronto (2015); Museum of Modern Art, New York (2014); Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (2014); High Museum of Art, Atlanta (2014); Milwaukee Art Museum (2013); MCA Chicago (2013); Smithsonian American Art Museum (2013); LACMA (2012-13); and Kunstverein Nürnberg (2012), among others. She will have upcoming solo exhibitions at the Akron Art Museum in Ohio and the Aspen Art Museum in Colorado. Barbara Kasten lives and works in Chicago, IL, USA.