Jeff Bark

The United Kingdom, London Michael Hoppen Contemporary

Occupying a space between photography, painting and film, Bark moves against the lure of instantaneous photography. The collaborations, castings, set construction and illusionary narrative in his work bring the act of photo taking closer towards the highly considered processes of both the Old Master tableau and the younger art of cinema. Nothing is built by Bark beyond the edge of the frame and his subjects are snatched out of real time, so the audience is viewing an enactment, a constructed diorama rather than reality. Held together in film, cinematically constructed, dissected and reassembled, the works can be looked at as individually and structurally significant, and also as part of a larger extended narrative.

With a brutal, near baroque, grandeur his subjects in Flesh Rainbow stand alone; faceless, embalmed in their own solitude, caught in moments of intensely fantastical escape. They occupy worlds of extreme and foreign mysticism, forming darkly observed, sometimes erotic, monuments. These subjects are left trapped, encased within their frames, held in an endlessly cyclical state of questioning. They are seen gagged, hidden, suffocated by process, by colour, by their own forms, their own hair, pillows, light, skin. Denied sight, faceless and hidden, Bark removes the possibility of direct expression, relying solely on the scene, the body and the light to express. Both within and without his sitters, Bark directs them as vessels for his own journey, combining a translation of their fears, desires and emotions with his own.

Jeff Bark was born in 1963. He has been represented by Michael Hoppen Contemporary since 2006 and regularly contributes to Dazed and Confused and Another Magazine. He currently lives and works in New York.