“Ghosts in the Landscape: Vietnam Revisited”

“Ghosts in the Landscape: Vietnam Revisited”

March 26, 2015 – June 6, 2015
Thomas J. Walsh Art Gallery, Fairfield University

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (February 26, 2015) – Fairfield University’s Thomas J. Walsh Art Gallery presents its newest exhibition, “Ghosts in the Landscape: Vietnam Revisited,” on view March 26, 2015, through June 6, 2015. An opening reception, free and open to the public, takes place on Thursday, March 26, 2015, from 6 to 8 p.m. “Ghosts in the Landscape: Vietnam Revisited,” is an exhibition of 46 prints by photographer and ex-combat Marine Craig J. Barber, that was organized by George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film. Barber spent 20 months in Vietnam as a teenager and returned three times to traverse many of his former military routes with an 8 x10 pinhole camera. His return to the land where he once fought resulted in a dreamlike and introspective study of place.

“Memory runs deep in my veins as I wind my way along narrow dirt paths and bamboo groves, past straw houses and barking dogs,” Barber has written of the experience. “More than once, as I wander the small hamlets, I have felt on patrol, the weight of my pack reminiscent of those days and the tripod feeling like a weapon. But now I am searching for images instead of ‘Charlie.’”

In 1995 Barber first revisited the battered and distant country where he had come of age, returning twice more over four years. His photographs take us toward some other Vietnam, far and near from the place we have pictured for many years. The majority of the exhibition’s images are platinum prints, created by Barber, who is an accomplished platinum printer. The tonality of the platinum process produces stunningly rich blacks and a full spectrum of delicately nuanced shades of gray. Barber created diptych and triptych panorama images that capture serene beauty and, at times, for him, the all-too memorable landscapes.

“These profound and dreamlike photographs are far from the horrific images we carry inside us that reduce Vietnam to a place of perpetual guerrilla war,” said Dr. Alison Nordström, George Eastman House’s curator of photographs. “These pictures look like dreams imperfectly remembered. Still and slow as they are, they suggest an imminent scream of fear or anger beneath an apparent tranquility.”

When stationed in Vietnam, Barber was not a serious photographer, but carried an instamatic camera with his combat gear throughout his tour of duty. His career as a photographer blossomed in the 1970s and took off in the 1980s. Today he is best known for his provocative landscape photographs and is recognized as one of America’s premiere landscape photographers. His work has been featured in more than 60 solo exhibitions and is represented in numerous collections, including George Eastman House, Victoria & Albert Museum in London, Brooklyn Museum of Art and the Bibliothèque Nationale de France in Paris. A native of Honeoye Falls, N.Y., Barber lives in the Hudson Valley and teaches photograph workshops throughout the United States and Europe. Accompanying the exhibition is a 60-page catalog of the same title, with an essay by Nordström (Umbrage Editions, 2006).

A talk by the artist, which is free and open to all, will take place in the Walsh Art Gallery on March 26, 2015, at 5 p.m., just prior to the exhibition opening reception.

The Thomas J. Walsh Art Gallery is open Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and one hour before, and during intermission of Quick Center for the Arts performances. Admission is always free. For more information, call the Thomas J. Walsh Art Gallery at (203) 254-4062, or visit www.fairfield.edu/walshgallery . The Walsh Gallery is located in the Quick Center for the Arts on the campus of Fairfield University, 1073 North Benson Road in Fairfield, Conn.

Posted On: 03-06-2015 03:03 PM

Volume: 47 Number: 178