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Barbara Bloom, Vanity, 2017, vanity mirror and lighting, mirrored vanity table, photo-etched vanity mirror, digital ink-jet print, movie scripts. Installation view. Photo: Max Yawney.

Barbara Bloom

David Lewis

Barbara Bloom, Vanity, 2017, vanity mirror and lighting, mirrored vanity table, photo-etched vanity mirror, digital ink-jet print, movie scripts. Installation view. Photo: Max Yawney.

A few days after seeing Barbara Bloom’s exhibition “A Picture, a Thousand Words”—a collection of seven sculptures that tenderly activate her familiar techniques of framing and doubling, of looking and being looked at—I unexpectedly found myself in a sunbaked, middle-of-nowhere town for the burial of my grandmother. It just so happened, of course, that the cool gray of her coffin was the same as that of Bloom’s walls. And it just so happened that I had spent much of the night before staring at old photos, fantasizing about why she had been seated on that porch, on his knee, in those heels, and searching as much for traces of the woman I loved as for traces of myself in her image. 

I mention this personal experience because it gets to the crux of Bloom’s show, which was about memory and memorialization, and the ways in which reflection, be it narcissistic or fictitious,

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