This week I looked at the work of Barbara Kasten. She is a contemporary studio artist who lives and works in Chicago. I saw a documentary on her life and work. What I liked was the definition of herself as an artist and why she is an artist.  She defined it as: Because she likes making things, likes to express herself and making a mark that was her own.

I liked the fact that she brought up the subject of belief and believing what’s inside of yourself. This is a great challenge believing that what you are doing has value, not only in the fiscal sense but in the creative sense. That what you are doing will be appreciated by others.

Barbara Kasten: Collision 6E.

She came from a very ordinary non creative background, her father was a policeman and her mother a sales clerk. She was influenced by the Bauhaus Movement and particularly by Laszlo Maholy Nagy.

My response to her work is mixed. Even thought I like her work I feel it is too close to Maholy’s work in form and content. Can I learn anything from her? Yes, she’s doing it! She has her shows and exhibitions and is established as an artist. Also that she ‘makes’ images in front of the camera.  I do not use the word ‘create’ I use made, because they are transformed from one thing into another. The synthesis of camera, film, light,filters and plexiglass (all already exist)

I think that making is the closest a human can come to creating.  True creating, is bringing into being, or forming something out of nothing. As a mere mortal, for me that is not possible.

Laszlo Moholy Nagy: “Composition Z VIII” (1924)


Art21 – Art in the 21st Century – Amazon Prime. PBS.