In these works, Probst deconstructs the seamless unity of space and time that had been a convention of realistic depiction since the Renaissance. Her method is, for photography, as radical a departure from that tradition as cubism was for painting.
By unmasking the fragmented nature of reality recorded by the camera, her pictures compel us to reconsider the unspoken assumptions that we bring to looking at photographs, and how those assumptions persuade us to accept as real photography's wholly illusory claim to truthfulness.
Probst's images imply that there is not one but a multitude of potentially "decisive moments." Moreover, they reject the formalist aesthetic of Cartier-Bresson in favor of a radical pluralism that embraces the tremendous diversity of styles that has characterized the history of photography.
Since that's the same direction the contemporary art world as a whole seems to be moving these days, Probst's ingenious art offers not only a lively and exciting new way of taking pictures but also an apt expression of the present moment.
"Barbara Probst: Exposures" runs through May 19 at G Fine Art, 1515 14th St. N.W., Washington. Call 202-462-1601 or go to gfineartdc.com.
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