Fall 2009 Issue

‘Blue’ Sky and Barbies

The Andy Gato Gallery kicked off its 2009-2010 season with an exhibition showcasing the work of faculty members Sara Rytteke and Tracie Heller.

The photographic works of Rytteke, associate professor of photography, and Heller, assistant professor of photography, represent a mix of the abstract, pop culture and social commentary.

Rytteke’s series, “Standards of Beauty: Like Barbie,” explores female identity and the influence of mass media and popular Western cultural ideas.

In a series of images, Barbie is inserted into everyday scenes and in others Rytteke inserts images of herself into Barbie’s world, illustrating the “fallacy of perfection.”

“Our earliest influences are the toys we play with, which brought me to the influences from my childhood, namely paper dolls and Barbies,” she said.

During her sabbatical in spring of 2009 Rytteke was a resident artist at the artist collective Italienska Palatset in Växjö, Sweden, where she completed and exhibited her latest body of work.

Heller is exhibiting her work for the first time at Barry University since her hire in 2008. Her images are photographic abstractions painted with layers of melted beeswax.

She describes her work as a “reflexive” act that began as a response to moving from Lake Tahoe, Nevada, to New York City where she earned a Master of Fine Arts from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.

“The abrupt change from the Sierra Mountains to the endless concrete, from big sky to no horizon line, felt like a shift from open to closed, from freedom to confinement,” Heller said. “This series grew out of that need for space, both visual and physical, for opening back up what closed when I moved [to New York].”