Midwest Photographers Project: Tom Bamberger

Brown Grass, 2002

About the Exhibition

Tom Bamberger’s digitally created panoramas are inspired by one question — how far can the horizon line of an image be convincingly extended? Attracted to inherently repetitious scenery — housing developments, farmland, highways, vineyards — Bamberger seamlessly extends these landscapes by drawing and repeating information from single negatives. He likens the process to cultivating a virus, explaining that, “in either a computer or a Petri dish, something reproduces itself until it reaches a critical mass where you can see it with greater clarity.” As the landscapes grow and the repetition becomes more easily identified, his questioning becomes more complicated. How natural or artificial are these images when repetition is intrinsic to these subjects to begin with? Bamberger then works with the cloned imagery, removing the limb of a tree, or adding a window to a house, in an effort to mimic the subtle diversity already existing in these scenes. By blurring the line between his digital alterations and the existing shape of the landscape, Bamberger questions the nature of repetition, arguing that there is little difference between, for example, DNA’s reproductive process in a forest or field and the computer cloning that his work depends on.

Tom Bamberger attended Boston University and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where he studied philosophy and taught mathematical logic. He has participated in numerous group exhibitions, including shows at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the ASA Gallery at the University of New Mexico; and the Milwaukee Art Museum. His solo exhibitions include several exhibitions at the Michael H. Lord Gallery in Chicago. Bamberger has received both a NEA grant and a fellowship from the Wisconsin Arts Board. He currently serves as the adjunct curator of photography at the Milwaukee Art Museum.

-Marci LeBrun, Curatorial Assistant