The Ringling presents a solo exhibition of works by Lorna Bieber in May that includes two new pieces making their debut in the Keith D. Monda Gallery for Contemporary Art. Bieber’s artwork first and foremost encourages us to indulge in the pleasures of looking and discovering anew the details of the visual world.
Bieber’s artistic practice is grounded in the principles of appropriating, recycling, and manipulating imagery. Her process emerged while working as a photo-editor for major magazines when she began creating innovative work using found and stock images that she manipulated and remixed on copy machines. Over the past decade, her work has evolved into massive textile pieces, which she calls her Montage series, that take up vast sections of wall but are made from small graphic fragments painstakingly woven together. The process typically takes a year or two to complete. Once finished, she digitally photographs the work and has it produced on canvas, connecting her practice to the medieval tradition of tapestries and textile wall-hangings.
One of the first of these, Tapestry (2015), will be on display as part of the exhibition. It consists of a dense array of butterflies, flowers, and other photographic spolia of the natural world that Bieber gleaned and manipulated. The Ringling will also be debuting her two newest works, Ordinary Day (2019) and Quiet Night (2022), both of which manifest new directions in Bieber’s methodology.
Lorna Bieber’s work reminds us of the image world that inundates our daily existence. Our experience of reality is mediated through a barrage of photographic digital images that supplants our connection to the natural world. Yet, Bieber is less interested in a critique of this condition than she is in offering her work as an antidote, a way to inspire viewers and reconnect with our shared sense of wonder.
Image: Lorna Bieber in her studio working on Quiet Night, 2019-2022. Image courtesy of the artist (c) Lorna Bieber. Photo credit: Brad Trent