Uta Barth

Germany 1958


Uta Barth
Uta Barth
December 12, 2014
Ok, I know it's so damn corny to quote somebody just to describe yourself, let alone Confucius, but this quote says all about my relationship with Widewalls, so forgive me for doing this: Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life. Am I forgiven?

Uta Barth is a contemporary photographer best known for her interplay between the photographs and the environment in which they are shown.

Born in Berlin, Barth received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Davis and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of California, Los Angeles. From 1990 to 2008, she was a professor in the Art Department of the University of California, Riverside, where she is currently a professor of art emeritus. After receiving the MacArthur Fellowship in October 2012, she noted that she still plans to teach on a part-time basis because teaching forces her to “put language to” what she is thinking.

Her early work was a combination of painting and photography, which led to the development of her signature style of blurry photographs as seen in Ground (1992–1997) and Field (1995).

Throughout the past two decades, Uta Barth has made visual perception as subject of her work. Regarded for her “empty” images that border on painterly abstraction, the artist carefully renders blurred backgrounds, cropped frames and the natural qualities of light to capture incidental and fleeting moments, those which exist almost exclusively within our periphery. With a deliberate disregard for both the conventional photographic subject and point-and-shoot role of the camera, Barth’s work delicately deconstructs conventions of visual representation by calling our attention to the limits of the human eye.

Some of her works were created by focusing the camera on an empty foreground, thereby casting a haze over the image in the background. The idea of obscuring the image in order to highlight the photographic process has continued throughout her work.
Barth continued to experiment with obstruction and light, with series such as Sundial (2007–2008) and …And to draw a bright line with light (2011). Barth’s work has been shown all over the world, and is owned by institutions such as The Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Tate Gallery in London. In 2007, she received a Broad Foundation fellowship, and was given a grant by United States Artists.

She lives and works in Los Angeles, California.

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group 
2014I feel the need to express something, but I don’t know what it is I want to express. Or how to express itPark View, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2014The Bigger Picture - Work From The 1990sTanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2014A World of Its Own: Photographic Practices in the StudioMoMA - Museum of Modern Art, New York City, NYGroup
2014Between The LinesTanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2013Uta Barth - To Draw With LightSCAD Museum of Art , Savannah, GASolo
2013At the Window: The Photographer's ViewJ. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2013Lens DrawingGalerie Marian Goodman, ParisGroup
2012Staring at the WallLawndale Art Center, Houston, TXGroup
2012When Does Something Become Something Else? Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MNGroup
2012Greetings From Los AngelesStarkwhite, AucklandGroup
2012TransparentLannan Foundation, Santa Fe, NMGroup
2012Moca’s 15th Anniversary CollectionMuseum of Contemporary Art North Miami (MOCA), Miami, FLGroup
2012Making sense: contemporary LA photo artistsArt Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, NSWGroup
2011Magical ConsciousnessArnolfini, BristolGroup
2011Conversations: Photography from the Bank of AmericaMFA - Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Boston, MAGroup
2010Ute Barth - walk without destination and to see only to seeTanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York City, NYSolo
2010Place as IdeaWorcester Art Museum, Worcester, MAGroup
2010Thrice upon a timeMagasin 3 Stockholm Konsthall, StockholmGroup
2010Incognito: The Hidden Self-PortraitYancey Richardson Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2010The Library of Babel: In and Out of PlaceZabludowicz Collection London, LondonGroup
2010InVisible: Art at the Edge of PerceptionMassachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art - MASSMoCA, North Adams, MAGroup
2010STATE OF MIND - A California InvitationalThe Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego, CAGroup
2009Winter Light1301PE, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2009Reach of RealismMuseum of Contemporary Art North Miami (MOCA), Miami, FLGroup
2009Pivot Points 3Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami (MOCA), Miami, FLGroup
2008Uta Barth: Poststrasse 3Sies + Höke, DusseldorfSolo
2008Seeing the LightTanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2008INSIDE OUTSIDEMKM Museum Küppersmühle für Moderne Kunst, DuisburgGroup
2008Memory is your image of perfectionMuseum of Contemporary Art San Diego - MCASD Downtown, San Diego, CAGroup
2008Affinities Alignments Collisions601Artspace, New York City, NYGroup
2007Uta Barth - SundialTanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York City, NYSolo
2007Seeing ThingsDorsky Gallery Curatorial Programs (DGCP), New York City, NYGroup
2007ViewfinderHenry Art Gallery, Seattle, WAGroup
2006Naturaleza: PhotoEspanaMadrid, SpainSolo
2006Uta Barth: 1998-2005Rochester Art Center, Rochester, MN Solo
2001Uta Barth: In Between PlacesContemporary Arts Museum Houston, Houston, TXSolo
2000Uta Barth: Nowhere NearLannan Foundation, Santa Fe, NMSolo
1997Uta Barth - Recent PhotographsPresentation House Gallery - PHG, North Vancouver, BCSolo
1995Focus Series: Uta BarthMOCA Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CASolo