Having spent most of my 20’s in the mountains teaching and snowboarding. I am often asked why I do not make work about my time in the mountains. I hesitate to say never but rather see it as an obvious response to my life so far and could mean I only address experiences that have been. Whilst working deeper I guess artwork is more like therapy working with ideas that are past the obvious and everyday and have less definitive conclusions. However though I do not make works about the mountains I am intrigued when I see other artists work within this geography. Currently Olivo Barbieri has an exhibition opening in New York at YANCEY RICHARDSON GALLERY. This exhibition presents aerial photographs of climbers in the Alps. These otherworldly photographs provide a different perspective, portraying the miniature scale of the individuals against the vast size of the Alps.
Olivo Barbieri: Alps – Geographies and People
Olivos’ choice of palette increases the viewers experience of these images.
“The subject of ʻAlps – Geographies and Peopleʼ is how the mountain is perceived from the climbersʼ point of view – its peaks and precipices, the mirages and hallucinations in its geography. In these images, everything is true. The proportions and the forms are real. Even the people and the position theyʼre in…those, too, are real.” Olivo Barbieri
Barbieris’ use of photography to capture the different spaces is unique. Looking at other projects expands on Barbieris’ selection process through the lens and editing. Works below are from Cities creates new understandings of urban spaces and draws a nice link between the naturals environment and the urban sprawl. By using the same medium but highlighting various parts of those landscapes can magnify out existence within.
Bringing me back to how my time spent working out doors and to another extent travelling could impact on my practice. It is interesting that Barbieri links places that I have been and my working life have taken me to. Another artist who also brings similar questions to the table is Alex Hartley and his climbing routes specifically his LA Climbs book.
It is motivating and reassuring to see artists combining their outdoor knowledge and passion within their practice. I guess I will continue to not rule out working within the mountains I spend so much of my time. It will probably happen when I am not aware or when a period of research leads me there.