Barbara Shamblin's "Image and Memory: Photographs of Italy" is not about clear sight. Her work evokes personal perception.
"'Why are they blurry?' I keep getting this over and over again," the artist said, at the Gallery Talk she gave on Oct. 13, 2005 at the Newport Art Museum. The delicate and unfocused images of Tuscan streets and Umbrian villages seem to vibrate off the gallery walls.
"These pictures to me are very much about the painterly elements of color and light and shape," Shamblin explained.
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Photography and painting have always been sort of like kissing cousins. Each, on occasion, finds itself drawn to the other, dreaming to cross a seemingly arbitrary line. Photographers and painters have always used each other as tools but often with reservation, mindful of modernist conventions of propriety in matters of medium purity.
The photographs of Barbara Shamblin have no such problem. They jump with open arms into an embrace of painterly color and light. Soft, out of focus images of Italian village streets are infused with washes of rich color in varying degrees of saturation. The advent of computer manipulation is the means that has helped Shamblin bridge the divide between photography and painting. In her statement she confides, "Working in color with digital printing has gotten to the point now where it does for me what painting did for me, this recent work more closely aligns my interests in painting and photography than any I have done before."
Shamblin's photographs are rich in process, from conception to finish. And process is important in arriving at how the photographer relates to her images. "I photographed using selective focus," she says, "moving the focus ring back and forth until I found a kind of recognition, a kind of memory in the camera's ground glass, not through what the buildings or the landscape actually looked like as much as what they felt like." [Excert fom East bay Newspapers - Dan Powell Read more ...]
BARBARA SHAMBLIN, professor in the Art Department of Salve Regina University has taught in the Art department since 1987. Professor Shamblin has exhibited her work throughout the United States and in Moscow, and in 2004 received the Best in Show award during the Newport Art Museum's annual Members' Juried Exhibition. Her work is in several permanent collections, including the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, the Addison Gallery of American Art in Massachusetts and the Fidelity Mutual Corporation in Rhode Island.
B.A. Fine Arts, Goddard College, Plainfield VT
M.F.A. Photography, Rhode Island School of Design