Barbara Levine and Martin Venezky

“We have been where you are going.” is a phrase that captures the blurriness between past and present and is a reminder that whatever we wish for has been sought out by others before us.

The most recent works inspired by this sentiment are our photo collages exploring the horizon line . Martin Venezky and I, Barbara, both collect vernacular photography but the way we respond to our pictures is different and the dialogue between us grounds our work. I recognize the sublime hiding in plain sight and see how pictures of apparent limited value often overflow with tension and beauty. Martin, on the other hand, is partial to the unremarkable. The lack of aesthetics reminds him how quickly the images we cherish can empty themselves of value.

For the photographs we make together, we construct a fresh encounter with the past, and with photography itself, by reorganizing the horizon line to confound time.

We slice apart anonymous photos placing them side by side, combining and recombining to create unexpected juxtapositions. When we discover connections and form relationships, the overwhelming anonymity of any one snapshot gives way to mystery. An inadvertent detail can demand our full attention. As the composition builds we add segments of Martin's abstract color photographs to connect realism and abstraction to create a challenging immediacy.

The photographic relationship between the pictorial and the abstract is one of the most fundamental understandings of place and time. “Place” is something we carry with us — a summation of our inner memories mapped onto the present landscape as we traverse it. The continuity of the land, though, has its own unbroken time frame and it is much longer and steadier than the interrupted, distracted time we are able to spend with it. While we look for the universal, we are always tripped up by our own presence.

We don’t know the people who populate our photographs but we can embody their boredom, their anxiety, and the desert sun on the backs of their necks. They chose to capture their moments for unknowable reasons. Martin and I have chosen to yoke them together to conjure future places and infinite possibilities They have been where we are going.

Barbara Levine and Martin Venezky

Awards (for works in the series)
LensCulture Exposure Jurors Award, 2017

Blogs / Publications
Musee Magazine, No.20, August, 2018
Royal Photographic Society Journal, November, 2017
Aint Bad Blog, December, 2017

Select Exhibitions
Catherine Edelman Gallery, Barbara Levine & Martin Venezky, 2020
Humble Arts Foundation (online), Group Show 56:Source Material, 2018
Catherine Couturier Gallery, In With The New, Houston, TX, 2017
FotoFest and Houston Center For Photography, This Side of Paradise, Houston, TX, 2015