Tad Barney Draws on Local Roots
Cincinnati photographer Tad Barney travels back to Loveland, his stomping ground 20 years ago, for the second showing of his work this year. “Loveland Revisited” opens at the William Schickel Gallery Sunday, Oct. 14 from 2 to 4 p.m., continuing through Dec. 3.
Loveland Revisited coincides with FotoFocus, a biennial event exhibiting the works of world-known, national, regional and local photographers at local galleries, museums and universities. The arts celebration seeks to rekindle Cincinnati’s creative spirit by spotlighting historical and contemporary photography.
The energy and excitement of FotoFocus reached Barney as he was re-entering the photography world. His show at the William Schickel Gallery is an affiliated activity.
Serendipitously, “going back to my old apartment (now Pizazz Studio) got me interested in taking pictures in Loveland,” according to Barney. “I saw how much had changed since I lived there, so the title seemed a natural fit.”
“It’s really a wonderful title and significant that we worked together before,” said gallery owner Joe Schickel. ‘We’re delighted, as a Loveland gallery, to be tied to FotoFocus. I’ve admired Tad’s work over the years and we’re honored to host his show. It’s a plus there’s such a strong Loveland connection and that he knew William Schickel.”
After his summer exhibit in Canada of iPhone panoramas and desiring to be some part of FotoFocus, Barney knew he wanted a more-local show “to reintroduce myself back into photography. Not necessarily to introduce others to me, but to be a catalyst for exploring photography again, learning and growing.”
Loveland Revisited will include panoramas of downtown Loveland and other places with the hope viewers “will know these places and see them a bit differently through these images.”
“It’s exciting and fun to again be a part of the people and place that were important in the past,” according to Barney. He and his wife, Cathy, lived in Loveland for the first five years of their marriage. They founded a small creative agency and worked with several members of the Schickel family, including Joe and his father, William.
Barney recently moved his photography to a studio in the 100-year-old re-purposed Milford Main School. The large classroom space has encouraged him to step back from the edginess of his iPhone panoramas and into photo processing. “It’s a more hand-on approach and the appealing part is it doesn’t require a dark room, just inexpensive, easy-to-use materials.”
These experiments echo the sense of internationally known Loveland photographer Nancy Ford-Cones, whose idyllic scenes were shot in the early 1900s. “I’ve become re-interested in her,” said Barney, who owns several Ford-Cones prints, “because her work was more about the craft and process than contemporary digital is.”
Barney earned a degree in fine-arts photography at Wright State University and did post-graduate work at Ohio University and the University of Wisconsin. At Wright State, Barney took a class taught by Nancy Rexroth, who, in the 1970s capitalized on the mass-produced, plastic Diana camera’s weaknesses to produce imaginative, dreamlike photographs in her acclaimed “Iowa” book.
“Nancy changed my idea about what photos were supposed to be and how they had to be produced,” Barney said. “Up to that point, we were taught they should be sharp, in focus and more formally composed. Nancy showed us that we could break the rules.”
Barney picked up “Iowa” several years ago “wondering whatever happened to her.” Thanks to technology, he discovered she lived in Cincinnati and they have reconnected. She helped curate his work for the Canadian show and some of those pieces will be in Loveland. “She’s a mentor and critic and still teaching me,” according to Barney.
Rexroth has a FotoFocus venue at the YWCA Women’s Art Gallery downtown Cincinnati with Judi Parks and Jane Alden Stevens. Landscapes of the Mind: Metaphor, Archetype and Symbol, 1971-2012 runs Oct 5-Jan. 10.
The William Schickel Gallery (formerly Maritain Gallery), 200 W. Loveland Ave., houses the art, writings and papers of Joe’s father, the late William Schickel, a nationally known painter, sculptor and designer noted for his contemporary, liturgical themes. The gallery also hosts a variety of other artists as well as cultural events in the spirit of Jacques Maritain, the French-Catholic philosopher.