Lorna Bieber: The Natural World at The Ringling

Arts & Culture

Pictured: Tapestry DETAIL inkjet on fabric, 11 feet x 24.5 feet, 2014-2016. Photo courtesy of Lorna Bieber.

When it comes to the exhibitions at The Ringling Museum of Art, there is always more than meets the eye. There is an effort by the curators to pursue art that is on the vanguard of its medium, it feels as if there is never just a typical painting or photography exhibition, but instead something more. The Ringling’s latest exhibition, Lorna Bieber: The Natural World is no exception to that rule.

Lorna Bieber is not your typical photographer. Actually, it might not be correct to call her a photographer at all, but instead an artist who operates on the edge of photography. Using recycled and manipulated imagery, such as pictures from magazines, paintings, or stock images found online, Bieber creates massive textile masterpieces often as large as 10 feet tall and 20 feet wide. These pieces make up Bieber’s Montage series, which will be on display at The Ringling this summer, including her two latest works Ordinary Day and Quiet Night.

“It’s such a unique exhibition and I couldn’t be more excited about it,” says Christopher Jones, the Stanton B. and Nancy W. Kaplan Curator of Photography and Media Art at The Ringling. “I’ve been in conversation with Lorna since before the pandemic trying to figure out a time to bring her here. Her work’s really unique because she’s creating these really massive montages that she creates out of fragments of images.”

Bieber started her artistic journey back in the 1980s, when she was working in the photo editing rooms of major magazines in New York City. Bieber became entranced by the images that came across her desk and started to use the magazines’ photocopy machines to create her own work. “Lorna works in this very small studio in New York City and when I got the chance to visit her I was able to actually understand the scale of the work she was creating. She spends so many hours putting these little pieces together, almost like a giant jigsaw puzzle, constantly photocopying and making changes to this ever growing work of art,” says Jones. “You’re unprepared for the experience you have when you’re actually looking at her art in person. Your jaw drops.”

May 20 to October 15, The Ringling Museum of Art, 5401 Bay Shore Rd., Sarasota.

Pictured: Tapestry DETAIL inkjet on fabric, 11 feet x 24.5 feet, 2014-2016. Photo courtesy of Lorna Bieber.

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