Diane Arbus Exhibition, Burton Gallery, Bideford, 30/05/18

Notes from a visit to the Diane Arbus Exhibition at the Burton Gallery in Bideford, 30/05/18.

No photography was permitted throughout the exhibition. This was visited whilst on holiday in the area. The galley area consisted of two rooms with the images spaced equally around the walls of the rooms. The presentation of the images appeared to be rather poor, the lighting was very uneven producing lots of reflections off the photographs and the glass behind which they were mounted. Cards were placed at the start of each wall indicating which images were on display – these would have been better placed under or next to each of the images.

I’ve never been a great fan of the work of Diane Arbus before visiting this exhibition and nothing that I viewed there has changed that opinion.  I found the work itself to be a little disconcerting, occasionally making for an uncomfortable viewing experience caused by a growing feeling that the subjects were being, in some way, exploited. Many of the images seemed, to me, to be very ‘flat’ and ‘un-interesting’ not really holding my attention or inciting me to look deeper into the image.

I do not think that the layout, lighting and presentation of the images on display ‘helped’ me to gain a deeper appreciation of the work.  Overall, for myself, this was a disappointing experience.



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