“Cendrillon” — French for “Cinderella” — is perhaps synonymous with fantastic transformation. Much like the iconic fairy tale, Houston-based artist Cara Barer’s process is rooted in dramatic change. Using the pages of discarded novels, phone books, dictionaries — even a Windows 95 user manual, Barer’s materials are repurposed from neglect.
Pages are dyed, ruffled and carefully arranged in circular forms, their bindings elegantly twisted. Echoing spiritual mandalas or blooming flowers, these altered pages are reborn as vibrant sculptural objects before being photographed. “I arrive at some of my images by chance and others through experimentation. Without these two elements, my work would not flow easily from one idea to the next.” In works like Cendrillon, pages are fancifully curled as brightly colored illustrations peek from the shadowed folds – a hint of its former life. Other works like Indigo are skillfully dyed, rich in shades of deep blue with pages opened in a seemingly swift motion, creating a cover-to-cover circle.
Transformed by color and arrangement, these books are equipped to take on new meanings as sculptural objects that are photographed and printed at a large scale – blurring the lines between object, sculpture, and photography. Through this transformation and documentation, Barer meditates on obsolescence and the relevance of libraries and the printed page in this century. “Books, physical objects and repositories of information, are being displaced by zeros and ones in a digital universe with no physicality,” says Barer.
CENDRILLON records the transition of books from ubiquitous staples of information, to passing ephemera in an increasingly digitized world. Barer’s works are part archival and part still life studies that question the future of the printed text.
Cara Barer CENDRILLON
Exhibition Dates: May 17 – July 23, 2016
Public Reception: Saturday, May 21, 2016 from 1 – 4pm
Laura Korman Gallery
Bergamot Station Arts Center
2525 Michigan Ave, D–2
Santa Monica CA, 90404