Artwork by Barbara Astman,  Untitled (Banana and Apple); Untitled (Mallet and Trowel)  (from the Red Series)

Barbara Astman
Untitled (Banana and Apple); Untitled (Mallet and Trowel) (from the Red Series)

two colour prints
each signed and numbered 81/93 in the lower margin
10 x 10 ins ( 25.4 x 25.4 cms ) ( each subject )

Auction Estimate: $8,000.00$6,000.00 - $8,000.00

Price Realized $7,800.00
Sale date: June 9th 2021

Acquired directly from the artist
Private Collection, Toronto
“Barbara Astman: Rouge/Red”, exhibition catalogue with essay by Karyn Allen, Centre culturel canadien, Paris, 1982, “Untitled (Banana and Apple)” illustrated, page 6
Barbara Astman, “Barbara Astman: personal/persona, a 20-year survey” (exhibition catalogue), The Art Gallery of Hamilton, 1995, page 37
"Red to the Core, The Work of Barbara Astman", Prefix Photo 41, May, 2020, “Untitled (Banana and Apple)” illustrated, page 34
Born in Rochester, New York, Barbara Astman studied at the Rochester Institute of Technology, when multimedia practices began to gain prominence in the late 1960s. A few years after moving to Toronto in 1970, she joined the faculty of the Ontario College of Art and Design. Astman’s practice has involved an experimental approach to photography and new media, encompassing both analogue and digital tools.

The Red Series is a culmination of two earlier and formative bodies of work, the “Visual Narrative” series,1978-79, and “Untitled, i was thinking about you …” series, 1979-1980, both of which featured photographs of the artist combined with text. Here, various objects serve as replacements for any text, allowing the viewer to construct their own meaning or association. The 1980-81 Red Series were made as unique prints; later, some individual images were re-printed by the artist, including this pair of 1993 works “Untitled (Banana and Apple)” and “Untitled (Mallet and Trowel)”.

The figure in these two prints is Barbara Astman herself, though in each case the image is cropped at her nose, consequently blurring her identity and eluding the categorization of self-portraiture. Furthermore, the artist is wearing black, so as to blend in with the backdrop while emphasizing the red objects. Astman sees multiple associations with the colour red, stating “Red is craving [...] Red is the present [...] Red makes me hungry [...] Red is impulsive.”

We extend our thanks to Dr. Ihor Holubizky for providing research related to these works of art.

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Barbara Astman