SMP logo

Bookmark and Share


Images: Found and Lost
Lorna Bieber

January 29, 2011 - May 26, 2011
Opening Reception: January 29, 5:00-7:00pm

Three Birds/Front View, 2000-1

“The artificial photographic compositions that I create do not exist in our world; they reside in the depths of our collective consciousness.”
—Lorna Bieber


These were landscapes and illustrations for a comfortable bourgeois sensibility. Nature as mere ornament; landscape as empty metaphor. Wilderness is hinted at here, but scrupulously drained of all its unruliness. Lost are the power, chaos and visceral energy of wild nature, substituted with a relaxed, sumptuous glowing landscape that appears to hold no threat, promise no disruption and undermine no feeling of security. Carefully placed trees, perfect blossoms, vertiginous cliffs, moonlit stillness wrapping the hushed land and picturesque peasants and yeomen laboring elegantly in the fields. Nothing breaks the spell in these disturbingly serene vistas. And yet they are so utterly false as to be, perhaps, a little disturbing. Lorna Bieber mines this territory for her imagery. Her finished pieces are ambiguous, spatially complex, fragmented, dream-like and redolent with memory. They excavate an ersatz nature that appears impenetrable, ambiguous, remote, detached and unknowable. A receding nature ever pulling away from our grasp.

In her mural-sized photographs and wall sized montages, Lorna Bieber begins with anonymous generic illustrations and images found in books and magazines. These are then reinterpreted through a range of manipulations including traditional and non-traditional photographic techniques. This complex, many-layered method of production results in unique gelatin silver prints that reveal unnoticed, unappreciated, and poignant images previously imbedded within their generic sources.


For the past thirty years, Lorna Bieber has employed stock photographs as the raw material of her art. These images of subject types, such as flowers, birds, rooms, landscapes, architecture, and the like, are frequently employed by photo editors and advertisers for illustrative purposes, and at the beginning of her career as a painter, Bieber supported herself as a photo editor at a mass-circulation magazine. At that time, she became intimately familiar with the existence and the use of stock photography as she culled and sorted images on a daily basis. The unusual nature of such imagery became increasingly apparent to her in the process.

For more information about Lorna Bieber’s photographs, CLICK HERE to download the essay The Image Myths (pdf) written by Lisa Hostetler, Curator of Photographs, Milwaukee Art Museum.

“My photography has always been about alchemy. I uncover and reveal vital, hidden images trapped within preexisting generic photographs. All of these images were appropriated from various sources and any image used went through many stages of manipulation before being printed in its final form. Many hours are then spent drawing on, cropping and collaging hundreds of photographs.”

“My mural prints and multi-part montage installations immerse the viewer in a parallel world of memory, dream and nostalgia.” —Lorna Bieber

  Lorna Bieber Conference Room Hotel 1998
Conference Room Hotel, 1998


Although originally a painter, Lorna Bieber has been exploring alternative photographic processes and techniques since 1988. She has had solo exhibitions at Julie Saul Gallery, Clementine Gallery, McKenzie Fine Art and I-20 Gallery, all in New York; Addison Gallery of American Art (2011), Houston Center for Photography; CEPA Gallery, Buffalo; Beard Gallery, Wheaton College; Herter Gallery, University of Massachusetts; Thomas Barry Fine Arts, Minneapolis; Bronx Museum Satellite Gallery; Woods-Gerry Gallery, Rhode Island School of Design; C. Grimaldis Gallery, Baltimore and Box Gallery, Santa Fe.

Bieber’s art and photography have been presented at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; LA County Museum of Art; Brooklyn Museum; the New York Public Library; Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University; Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris; Fotogalerie Wien, Vienna; Fotoforum West, Innsbruck; the School of Fine Art in Rheims, France and at numerous venues in New York including PS1; White Columns; Julie Saul Gallery; Paine Webber Gallery; Caren Golden Fine Art; Franklin Furnace and Art in General. Other group exhibition venues include the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Southeast Museum of Photography; Norton Museum of Art, Palm Beach; Columbus Museum of Art; Delaware Art Museum; Contemporary Art Center, New Orleans; Weisman Museum of Art at Pepperdine University; Cooley Memorial Art Gallery at Reed College; Chicago Cultural Center and the Woodstock Center for Photography.

Lorna Bieber's artwork has appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, ARTnews, Artforum, New York Magazine, Parnassus, The Village Voice, 2wice, spot Magazine, Zoom, The Boston Globe, On View Magazine and in “Birdspace, A Post-Audubon Artists Aviary” by David Rubin (Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans) and "A Thousand Hounds, the Presence of Dogs in Photography" by Miles Barth and Ray Merrit (Taschen).

Lorna Bieber has been an Artist-In Residence at the Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy and at the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin and a Fellow at Bellagio Study & Conference Center (Rockefeller Foundation); Camargo Foundation; MacDowell Colony; Yaddo; Bogliasco Foundation, Ucross Foundation, VCCA and the Santa Fe Art Institute.

Her work is represented in numerous private collections and the corporate collections of IBM, Neuberger and Berman and the Prudential Insurance Company. Major institutional collections include The Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University; the Bibliothèque nationale de France; the Brooklyn Museum of Art; the Southeast Museum of Photography; the Norton Museum of Art and The New York Public Library. Lorna Bieber lives and works in New York.

All montages on loan from the collection of the artist. Murals on loan from the collection of the C. Grimaldis Gallery, Baltimore, MD.

Click HERE for press articles

Lorna Beiber Winter Trees
Winter Trees, 2007
Installation Images:
Lorna Beiber Installation Image Lorna Beiber Installation Image Lorna Beiber Installation Image

Current Exhibitions
| Upcoming Exhibitions | Past Exhibitions | Traveling Exhibitions


The Southeast Museum of Photography is a service of Daytona State College
1200 W. International Speedway Blvd. (Building 1200) Daytona Beach, FL, 32114, (386) 506-4475
Free Admission & Parking

Click HERE for museum hours of operation

Exhibitions and programs at the Southeast Museum of Photography are supported in part by Daytona State College, Volusia ECHO and the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on the Arts.

Daytona State College prohibits discrimination and assures equal opportunity in employment and education services to all individuals without regard to age, ancestry, belief, color, disability, ethnicity, genetic information, gender, marital status, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sex, and veteran status. For more details, read our Equal Opportunity Statement or contact: Lonnie Thompson, Chair of the Equity Committee at 386-506-3403 or 1200 W. International Speedway Blvd., Daytona Beach, Fl. 32114.