Friday, June 26, 2009

Press Release - An altering of focus

Photographer refines his focus
Photographic artist Michael Barone has a busy summer ahead of him. With his artwork in three galleries in two states, he finds himself torn between the business of operating a commercial studio and the creation of his art. “I feel like my artwork is suffering as I struggle to support a commercial location.” says Barone, who has successfully operated a full-time commercial studio in Perkasie for over six years.
This summer Barone’s work can be seen in group shows in The Gallery of Fine Photography in Frenchtown, NJ and Side Tracks Gallery in New Hope, PA. On August 15th, Barone's solo exhibit “Censor This!” will be opening at the ArtHouse Lounge in Harrisburg, PA. “With the interest in my fine art photography growing, it seems counterproductive to try to fit in my art with a full-time retail studio. Particularly in this economy.”
Barone will now focus on increasing the number of fine art sessions and commissioned black and white portraits which have become Michael Barone’s signature. The elimination of his current retail space will allow him to focus on his reputation in the arts community while continuing to bring his artistic eye to limited weddings and commercial images on location, all without sacrificing the integrity of his photography.
Barone holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Delaware and over the last 25 years has been shown in numerous galleries and websites both national and internationally. More information about his artwork and commissioned portraits can be found on his website
For information about wedding, portrait or commercial images visit or call 215-453-1208

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The evolution of an exhibition

With my solo exhibition being 2 months away I thought I post an update on it's progress. When this offer was first presented to me by the owner of the ArtHouse Lounge gallery, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to show the work that I have been very interested in shooting and pushing. The gallery has given me complete control to show the work I want, no censoring what so ever. How often does that happen! So with the exhibition being an erotic show, I now had the opportunity to shoot and actually exhibit the type of photography that I really feel is lacking. Honest, truthful and beautiful erotic images.
The first thing I did was go through my existing catalog of work and pull out the images that I felt would work for this exhibition. Once I figured that out I began shooting new work with the idea that they would be in the show. I never realized that as the new work took shape the show would evolve as much as it did.
This evolution has really opened my eyes to how much the censorship issues has stifled my creativity. I have the models who will pose anyway I ask them but sometimes the shoots have stopped short of what I wanted to achieve. So now with basically 2 to 3 weeks left to shoot then another 4 to print and frame, I have to let it all hang out, sort to speak and make sure that these next sessions I do not self censor during the actual photo session.
Currently the show has a nice mix of male and female nudes from mild to what some might call wild.
I know as these next few photo session occur the show may evolve once again.
This has been a soul searching journey into my artwork that I hope many of you have a chance to see.
I will be posting more info as it gets closer but mark August 15th on your calendars!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Interesting art quotes

For years I have been contemplating returning to school to get my MFA degree. Why? Who knows, maybe I feel like I still have unfinished business. But if I ever want to teach I need a masters. A BFA and 25 years practical experience isn't enough anymore. But I digress.
So I received information from The Academy of Art University in San Francisco and there were some great quotes in the booklet I received; I want to share them here.
If it inhabits your dreams and questions your fears, it's art

It it lifts you up in some sort of emotional epiphany or throws your preconceptions to the ground, it's art

If it disturbs you, it's art

So according to them art is everywhere. And the artist is the one who can transform he mundane into magical.

As Paul Gauguin once said,
Art is either plagiarism or revolution.

Let's start a revolution!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Art, not just pretty pictures

I recently read an article that museums now are taking a cue from the video game world and creative an interactive environment to enhance the viewers experience. It's not that attendance is lacking, on the contrary, most art galleries are seeing an uptick in attendance. According to Michael Conforti, curator of the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts.
“People are trying to connect with things that are more stable, that will be here.”

So why are art galleries and museums like the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC and others going to great lengths to remake themselves? Facebook, videogames, coffee shops in Barnes and Noble, these things keep our attention. We have become a culture of lookers not seers who's attention span has been reduced to that of a toddler.
If something doesn't strike us over the head, or is too complex and challenging we just walk away, we can't see what is really there.
As a visual artist I have been guilty of producing work from time to time that is more like a sledge hammer than a subtle breeze. I felt that if I didn't capture my viewers attention right away, they wouldn't spend the time to enjoy the subtle shades of gray that flow over the human form when the lighting was just right. They wouldn't notice that hey, this guy is pretty good.
My wife and I are members of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. We have spent countless hours in the gallery looking at it's collection, but we too are lookers. We rarely go into certain wings of the museum because we just don't "get" the work and don't take time to actually see what it is, what makes this special. So part of what the galleries are dealing with is how do we educate a public. If the public is educated about the art, then maybe they will take the time to see what's there. I am educated, I have a degree in art and have a decent art history background, but works by say the Pennsylvania Impressionists to me are just not my cup of tea. So I haven't spent the time to really look at the work.
Thomas Campbell, the new director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York stated,
“We take so much for granted,” he says. “You walk through gallery after gallery and there’s really very little explanation of certain objects, certain paintings in these rooms. There’s an assumption that you have a general knowledge of the history of European art. Modern technology provides the opportunity to provide more information without turning galleries into intrusive didactics.

To this extent, I have to agree. On a recent visit to the Philly Art Museum, my wife and I were treated to Cezanne and Beyond, a wonderful exhibition of which I have written about before. What made it even better for me was the audio tour. I had on my little headphones and the digital audio device around my neck and as I walk through the exhibition I pressed the number of the painting into the device and received some wonderful information. It truly helped me see the work in a new light.
So maybe this technological shift will bring more people into museums eager to learn more about art. I hopes so, although I still feel that we, as a people, need to really slow down. Don't be so judgmental, and actually take the time to see the world around us. Whether it be Picasso's "Guernica" or a beautiful sunrise off the deck of your summer place. Take it in, savor it, enjoy it and really see it.