Bjarne Bare

If, Then, Because, Since and So

OSL contemporary is proud to present the first solo exhibtion at the gallery by Bjarne Bare, If, Then, Because, Since and So. The show comprises of sixteen large format colour photographs from the artist’s latest series of the same title, produced in 2017. Additionally, this is Bare’s first exhibition since completing his MFA at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) this year and coincides with the release of an artist monograph, published under the same name, by Hassla Books in New York. The works in If, Then, Because, Since and So display Bare’s thorough commitment to the photographic medium, drawing inspiration from street photography informed by a conceptual understanding of pictures and their potential. Each exposure is immersed in the cameras mediation between outdoor oddities and studio practice. In between the shuttering of the lens, the shifting light of the day transforms found and discarded materials, focusing on the particulars carried within the textured surfaces as pointing back to the image surface.

This exhibition is a continuation of the artist’s interest in forms of abstraction in images as well as an investigation into the de-representation of photographic space. As a result, the photographs are atmospheric, visceral, and void of human subjects, gesturing to an absence in photographic representation. Rather, Bare’s interest is in capturing mostly banal things found in the artist’s immediate environment: for example, a fence adorned with a leafy motif in Leaves (2016–17) or an extruding square emerging outwards from a wall in Bulge (2015–17). The latter photograph breaks the traditional two-dimensional space of the medium while vibrant walls of otherwise nondescript buildings appear infinitely extended, as seen in the works Because (2015–2017) and Window (2016–17). All of these images, typically shot from an angle, have a slanted point of view, thus, the picture plane appears elongated and exaggerated.

In Bare’s most recent series, Bungee Sketches (2016–17), the camera confronts the objects head-on. Bare utilizes the boundaries of the frame to provide a documentation of the work, indicating a shift in the artist’s use of perspective and specific subject matter. The photographs, which visually register as an example of the artist’s interest in forms of de-representation, show an arrangement of bungee cords stretched and hooked to the furthest corners of an industrial peg board. A connection between the points — between one hook on a bungee cord and its adjacent partner — sets up a tension in the image that suggests a tearing apart of what is being held. It is through this tension, a certain tug-of- war, that the photographic image breaks on itself and toward a three-dimensional space – in which the framed photograph is located.

The exhibition’s title is a reference to syntax and the formulaic repetition of language, mulled from the pages of an elementary school textbook. The act of repetition — be it a reference to a formal series or in the images conceptual arrangement — are both part of the artist’s photographic approach.