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Lulu Torbet exhibition “Allusions: Things Not as They Seem”

By Sheridan Sansegundo

Lulu Torbet describes her new show at Berlin Bar as a “carry-forward” from earlier series. “Over the years I’ve been obsessed with several subjects, from the tarpaulins in the open markets and banged-up cars, to images reflected in car windows and ‘found’ still lifes on my glass-topped painting table. Most of my photos are purposely deceptive, in that they first look abstract, like paintings, but as you look closer, the subject matter reveals itself,” says Torbet.

Lulu Torbet Photographs
“Allusions: Things Not as They Seem”
Thu, Nov 7, 7-9pm
Berlin Bar & Restaurant
Umarán 19

Torbet adds that this new series, “Allusions: Things Not as They Seem” is more of the same, except that this time around she is actively creating the illusions and confusions. The current series combines photographs, paint, markers, and floral material, built upon layers of glass separated by spacers. “I start with a background photo, shot straight down, of a fountain, pond, tiled terrace, or cobblestones, already strewn with leaves and flowers. Using spacers to give depth, I put a layer of glass over the background photo and add paint and flowers in a way that coheres with what is underneath. And then I add a third layer, always working with the underlying photo. I shoot the finished assemblage from at night, lit from the side, so that shadows are cast through the glass and onto the original photo layer,” explains Torbet.

Torbet’s intention is to produce a photo that looks, despite all this artifice, all the more real because it conveys the reflections and movement that the human eye actually registers in the moment of glimpsing a gurgling fountain or the wind blowing detritus across a tiled patio: “I’m trying to capture the experience of the time-lapsed, ephemeral quality of what we see every day, to point to, or allude to what we see, in fleeting moments, as we are moving through the world and as the light moves and changes. For me, this experiment is just beginning, which means I’ll be foraging the streets and friends’ gardens to maintain a supply of fresh flowers.” David Mackenzie’s five-minute video of Lulu talking about this series will also be shown during the exhibition.

Lulu Torbet grew up in New Jersey, lived in Manhattan for nearly 25 years, and then spent 15 years in the San Francisco Bay area. Along the way, she founded a graphic design studio, made an animation film, wrote (and illustrated and photographed) craft books, had solo painting and printmaking shows, designed and sold jewelry through major department stores around the country, and did painted floors and furniture. For many years she has been a ghostwriter and developmental consultant for non-fiction books—still her “day job.” Her work is in numerous private and corporate collections. Here in San Miguel she has shown at Generator Gallery, Art Print, Espacio Carral, and the Museo de la Ciudad in Quéretaro.


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