Our latest Artist You Need To Know is Barbara Astman. Astman is a Canadian artist whose works are a melding of various media, often photography and new media, frequently employing her own body in a style that challenges our expectations of self portraiture.
Astman “creates photographic series that target the personal world through recollection or revelation. Her early work responds to contemporary issues by incorporating humor and stereotype. Her oversize photographs from the early 1980s are striking in their bold, unusual use of color and scale. Throughout her career, Astman pioneered the artistic use of both analogue and digital reproduction techniques.” (from here) Originally from Rochester, NY, she studied at the Rochester Institute of Technology (this was, at that time in the late 1960s, a space that was encouraging of the exploration of numerous emerging medias into artmaking), Atman was one of many who left the United States during the tumult of the Vietnam War to settle in Canada. She has been a professor at the Ontario College of Art and Design (now OCAD University) since the early 1970s.
Her work is held in the following permanent collections, among others: Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Art Gallery of Ontario, Bibliothèque Nationale (Paris), The Robert McLaughlin Gallery, George Eastman Museum (Rochester, New York), McIntosh Gallery, University of Western Ontario (London, ON), Museum of Fine Arts (Houston), National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa), The University of Toronto Art Museum (ON), Oklahoma City Museum of Art (US), Victoria and Albert Museum (London, UK), and the Winnipeg Art Gallery (Winnipeg, MB). Notable among her past exhibitions is the major touring retrospective Barbara Astman – Personal/Persona – A 20 Year Survey, curated by Liz Wylie, that was generated by the Art Gallery of Hamilton in 1995.
She has also been commissioned to create several public art projects. These include a floor installation for the Calgary Winter Olympics (1987), another for the Canadian Embassy in Berlin, Germany in 2005 and a public art project in Toronto (titled Murano on Bay, incorporating images into a window ‘space’). Astman has also worked in the curatorial sphere, as in 2008 Astman and AGO Assistant Curator Georgiana Uhlyarik collaborated on a curatorial project for the exhibition Transformation at the Art Gallery of Ontario, centred on the artwork and legacy of Joyce Wieland and early feminist practice.