About the Photographer
Revelle, Barbara Jo
American, b. 1946
Since she began her career in the 1970s, Barbara Jo Revelle has created a substantial body of work that incorporates photography, film, video, multimedia installation, and large-scale public art. In many of her projects Revelle juxtaposes multiple images and also pairs them with additional verbal or visual elements such as written text, audio recordings or a variety of physical objects. Describing the thinking behind these strategies in the book Contemporary Art and Multicultural Education, Revelle writes, "Art is about creating meaning and I think meaning lies in the relationships between things. For me single images, like glimpses of life from an elevated train, are poignant, but have little to do with understanding… One's experience always exceeds one's vocabulary, so art making for me is a way to name the unnamable or make visible something that wasn't visible before."
In the two works represented in MoCP's collection, dating from the early 1980s, Revelle situates four photographs on a single sheet of paper and accompanies them with a semi-autobiographical narrative, in one case written by hand and in the other typed. Whether Revelle is reflecting on subjects like car crashes, childhood memories, her father's fears, radical feminism, or the rewards of a traditional family life, her texts relate only obliquely or evocatively to the photographs, while shifting between personal and public registers. The text and the photographs in each case affects the meaning of the other, without being reduced to an illustration or a description.
Born in 1946 and raised in upstate New York, Revelle studied at the University of Colorado, Boulder, where she completed a BA in English Literature(1969) and an MFA in Photography and Film (1973). A longtime educator as well as an artist, she has taught at a number of schools in the United States, including the San Francisco Art Institute; the University of California, Los Angeles; the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; Arizona State University; and Buffalo State College, part of the State University of New York. For thirteen years she was Director of the Photography and Electronic Media Program at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Revelle is currently a Professor and the Director of the Photography Area at the University of Florida, Gainesville, where she served as Director of the School of Art and Art History from 1996-2000.