The Aspen Art Museum recently opened its newest exhibition—a multimedia collection by artist Barbara Kasten called “Scenarios.” Along with pieces that incorporate painting, sculpture and photography, the exhibition includes three of Kasten’s video installations, which is the most comprehensive collection of her non-photographic work in the United States. Although, Kasten says the new medium is all part of her progression as an artist.
“It’s really an extension of photography and an extension of the ideas that I’ve been working with all my life,” she said.
Those ideas play with color, light, shapes and photography. Kasten’s influences include artist Herbert Bayer, a student of the German Bauhaus art school who’d go on to redesign landmarks like the Wheeler Opera House and the Aspen Institute during his time in the Roaring Fork Valley. Kasten cites the modernist Bauhaus teachings as central to her work as well.
“I always try to blend perception, illusion and reality into a new position for us to examine,” said Kasten. “The overarching thought for me about looking at my work from the point of view of abstraction is that I hope that it opens people’s minds.”
She says that open-mindedness can be helpful right now during times of divisiveness and difficulty from the pandemic.
“I see abstraction as a political tool to help people unrestrict themselves,” she said. “Hopefully they can take that openness and look at our world at large, and the situation that we find ourselves in now.”
Kasten’s “Scenarios” will be on display at the Aspen Art Museum until April 4, 2021.