Jeff Bark’s imaginary walk through the Bel Paese through over 50 images
Palazzo delle Esposizioni is featuring fashion photographer Jeff Bark’s first solo show in Italy. Bark was born in Minnesota in 1963 and is currently residing in New York City. He has garnered international attention for his resume of editorial covers which includes Dust Magazine, Dazed & Confused, I-D, Pop Magazine, Another Magazine, and V Magazine. Bark took part in the show “No Fashion, Please,” where he attacked traditional standards of fashion and beauty along with photographers Phillip-Lorca di Corcia, Erwin Olaf, Hanna Putz, Viviane Sassen, Sophia Wallace, and Bruce Weber. He has also been featured in the North Carolina Museum of Art, the Wilson Center of Photography, the Sir Elton John Collection, and the 21 Century Museum. Bark explores the human experience through his photographs and is recognized for his sensual aesthetics. His style seems to draw on figures like Jacques-Louis David as well as the Italian Baroque, the Renaissance, and the Dutch Golden Age.
Bark’s exhibit Paradise Garage is curated by Alessio de’Navasques and includes over 50 images that Bark constructed in his New York parking garage. Together the images tell the story of a walk through Bel Paese, Italy’s “beautiful country.” Paradise Garage was inspired by Bark’s short trip to Italy, and the exhibit is promoted by Roma Capitale Department of Cultural Growth.
His images are large-scale still lives and portraits of curious characters. They often feature objects found in flea markets which create chromatic contrasts. Bark is able to question conventions by creating pieces which possess the qualities of a film and demonstrate an impressive use of light. The images have fantastical qualities which create juxtaposition and incite meditation on family life as well as the norms and quirks of Italian society. The first room in the exhibit draws on 17th century collections and includes magnified details.
The second room plays on the grotesque and uses a single model to evoke gender and identity exploration. Bark’s third room plays on the protagonist, and the fourth features flowery still lives. A walk through Paradise Garage mimics the intersection of fiction and reality, of the surreal and a surprisingly familiar dream.
Till July 28
Palazzo delle Esposizioni
Via Nazionale, 194
Open Tues-Thurs, 10am-8pm; Fri-Sat, 10am-10pm; Sun, 10am-8pm; Mon closed
Entry fee €8-10