Post 1950, my knowledge of art begins to diminish rapidly, and thus I tend to refrain from referencing post-modern or contemporary works. Because, you know, nobody wants to be the douchy person who talks with an authoritative tone about art movements they know nothing of...
Nonetheless, that doesn't stop me from at least admiring the modernist forms of art. And since our collective visual lexicons have been enriched (or overstimulated, depending on whom you ask) by social media, it's often a pleasantly anachronistic experience to look at photography as art. Don't get me wrong, I can see the ironies of traditional photography as it stands in 2012.
Who takes the time to print and hang digital images these days, what with the ease of Instagram and Facebook? Archival photo prints seem so outmoded and analog; who's going to 'like' or 'share' that prized Richard Avedon or Jurgen Teller work hanging on our wall? No one, unless you invite them over and you've got a, gasp, real life friend to watch it with you.
You know, in person. With a drink in hand, perhaps?
That's exactly why Tim Barber's Untitled (Central Park) piece resonates as it hangs, in an old-timey fashion, on a wall that's not of the Facebook variety. Online art purveyor Exhibition A has an archival printed, stretched-canvas version of the work available through a 50 print run on their members-only site, and I'm seriously thinking of snapping one for myself.
Even though the work is a semi-intangible reproduction of a very real place, the resulting image itself is tangible. It's there, it's hanging in a three-dimensional space, and we can relive that captured moment infinitely through the image. Not to mention how bloody cool the My Little Pony pink hair looks against the greens.
I know, anyone can take pictures of central park; if they've got a smart phone, they can even whiz the image off to their 1,639 followers, and that's fine. But to see this particular scene, you've got to be there, standing in the exact spot that Barber stood, perhaps having a very real emotional response to the view.
Which is priceless - either through a real-life encounter or via an image like the one above. Because, when last I checked, you couldn't broadcast actual, emotional experiences through social media. As yet...
PS. if you're thinking of browsing Exhibition A's contemporary art selections, allow me offer you an invite.
NB Image Courtesy Exhibition A/Tim Barber