review

CRAIG J. BARBER
Bohemia

Woodstock Times - September 7, 2007
by Paul Smart


Gallery Greetings - Craig Barber Work Opens at Galerie BMG

Galerie BMG main-man Bernard Gerson wasn't happy earlier this summer when his friend and fellow photographer Craig Barber announced that he'd be running for town council. "I'd rather not see him win," Gerson said before the town Democratic Party's August 4 caucus, half-joking, half-serious. "I'd hate to see anything interfere with Craig's art."

Barber, who ran a solid campaign but came in shy of a win this first entry into politics, has a show of new works opening at Galerie BMG Saturday, September 8, with a reception running from 5 p.m. - 7 p.m. It's called "Bohemia," and is made up of expertly crafted and passionately observed cityscapes in Prague and other Czech sites he's been frequenting each summer in recent years as a visiting artist teaching his ways with hand-made pinhole cameras to students from around the world.

The exhibit represents something of a sidestep from the work Barber has become best known for of late - the haunted black and whites he shot returning to the Vietnam locations he first visited as a young soldier in the late 1960s, collected in last year's beautifully-realized book, Ghosts In The Landscape.

How do the places we inhabit affect us? Do they serve as settings for our dreams or do our dreams inform our buildings? How does the past stay alive in our increasingly complex present? Where is passion expressed in the surface dispassionateness of stone and metal?

"Bohemia" is reminiscent of earlier architectural studies of urban decay and its effect on people he photographed in Havana, New York and other cities, and adds to anticipation for his latest project, an examination into the fallowing of those rural Upstate New York fields he grew up in a generation back.

"Bohemia" will have its premiere exhibition at Galerie BMG from Friday, September 7, through Monday, October 8, with an artist's reception scheduled on September 8 from 5 p.m. - 7 p.m. Barber, for those who don't know, will be the big guy with a smile.