October 13, 2008
“Dark Sun” Exhibit of the Work of Photographer Barbara Jaffe at Webster University's May Gallery
For a high-quality image go to: http://www.webster.edu/maygallery/images/jaffe.jpg
“Barbara Jaffe: Dark Sun,” a photography exhibit of negative imagery is featured at Webster University’s May Gallery.
October 31-November 26, 2008
Opening reception Friday, October 31, 5-7 p.m. – Children in costume are welcome.
Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.
May Photography Gallery
Sverdrup Business/Technology Complex, Webster University
8300 Big Bend Blvd., 2nd Floor, West Wing
Free and open to the public
Call 961-2660, ext. 7673, or visit the website at www.webster.edu/maygallery
With support from the Regional Arts Commission.
Financial assistance for this project has been provided by the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency.
The photographs in Dark Sun are negative prints. In this reversed black and white image a duplicate but opposite world is revealed that is self-luminous, radiating rather than reflecting light.
This special light describes a space that is strikingly real and yet metaphysical in nature. Therefore it also allows me to explore other issues of concern, the heart of which is the dual nature of reality: negative/positive, spiritual/material, sub-surface/surface, invisible/visible, shadow/light. It also satisfies my core belief that the human eye does not tell the whole story. I believe that the truth is just below the surface, and I'm always aware that my solid glass window holds a vibrant molecular world.
Light can reveal or obliterate, and the same can be said of shadows. For me, viewing a negative image is an exhilarating act of discovery, inviting the viewer into a reinvestigation of the known. Objects once obscured in the shadows emerge the way colors arise in the morning from their black and white nightlife. Shadow secrets reveal themselves too, as the curtain of traditional representation lifts.
It could be said that one of the essential aspects of the modern condition is self-reflection. I would hope that the work speaks to this contemporary sensibility. All the people in my photographs are alone in their environments, engaged in solitary, contemplative activities - mentally active in their pursuits. Dark Sun conveys my own sense of being alone in a crowded and increasingly threatened world, dealing with anxieties while maintaining curiosities. As an aspect of my personal psyche, the work is also tinged with a bit of melancholy - a sense of dislocation, yearning and loss.
There are basically two areas of concentration in Dark Sun. While the main focus is on photographs of people, there are also those of botanical scenes I've arranged. I consider them part of the same world. Whereas the images of people are taken in quiet introspective states, the florals are wild and chaotic, animated and seemingly self-defined. Not always benign, they are charged with an energy that normally cannot be seen but I believe exists.
Although the first negative image was made by Fox Talbot, it was Man Ray who infused it with the surreal and spiritual, allowing the subconscious to surface. Throughout the history of photography the negative has had brief and sporadic role as a final image. It is inherently photographic and seldom explored. I wish to continue and expand this exploration.
— Barbara Jaffe