Tina Barney presents her family and friends in their own highly decorated natural environments in tableaux that hint at the notion that all is not perfect beneath the surface. The affluence that is depicted in these scenes of daily life is as much a player as the people who take it for granted. A family pores over the Sunday Times in typical East Coast fashion, but the body language is revealing and the scene is less cosy than a similar product of the imagination. One daughter looks on, arms crossed, apart from the readers. The father sits, staring from the end of the table. There is a restlessness in the air. Similarly, the scene from the Daughters belies a brittleness despite the coordinated outfits, while the anxiety exuded in the Bridesmaid is even more palpable. Barney shows us that relationships and the ensuing manifestations are simply not predictable. We cannot assume that all familial connections will be warm and fuzzy, so there is no point in ‘ritualizing’ affection.
Artist: Tina Barney