American Prospects

Tina Barney zooms out in a new series of landscapes.

Known for her lush and precise portraits of upper-echelon American families, Tina Barney, in a new body of work, has reimagined her subjects at a distance. In Landscapes, her current exhibition at Paul Kasmin Gallery, she pans out from the individuals themselves, placing landscape at the forefront. Although many were taken in the last year (with a few, previously unseen works from the ’80s), Barney’s East Coast landscapes strike a similar mood as her previous work. In an interview from 1995, Barney noted that her photographs “are based on nostalgia, not only on the nostalgia of this place as opposed to the West Coast where I was living, but also nostalgia for my own childhood.” More than two decades later, in these large-scale color prints, Barney depicts classic scenes celebrating American traditions: Fourth of July parades, state fairs, tennis courts, beachside barbecues, and a high school sporting event sprinkled with cheerleaders and marching band players. Barney’s landscapes expand upon the theatricality of American wealth and prosperity, and widen the stage she has been working on throughout her career. Even in the most still moments or sparsely-populated scenes, these works appear choreographed by tradition.

Tina Barney: Landscapes is on view at Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York, through March 3, 2018.