May 9th 2014

Barbara Diener: In the Valley

@ LivingRoom Gallery

1530 W. Superior St., Chicago IL

Opening Friday, May 9th, from 6PM - 9PM

On view through Sunday, June 1st

ACRE and LivingRoomGallery present an opening reception on May 9, 2014 from 6pm to 9pm at 1530 W Superior Street. ACRE has partnered with LivingRoom Gallery to host IN THE VALLEY // new work by Barbara Diener, the next installment in ACRE’s year-long series of exhibitions by 2013 ACRE summer residents.

In The Valley

For the past two years Barbara Diener’s photographic work has explored notions of nostalgia and rootedness in small towns and rural communities that are demographically similar to the German town where she was raised. In the Valley is an iteration of this work and focuses on activities and products that challenge expected concepts of a disappearing rural lifestyle while embracing the tranquility of a bucolic life. The landscape has become a character in and of itself and represents the pride in the land Diener encounters in her subjects.
The villages Diener photographs are as complex as the sense of rootedness she is searching for and the deliberate linking of disparate subjects (portraits, landscapes, interiors) mirrors this. Her attraction to the rural does not only stem from her upbringing. There is a quietude to this environment that strips away distractions and amplifies the inevitable cycles of life. The people in Diener’s photographs exist in their own world and this spatial and emotional distance functions as a reminder that these places remain impermeable and a sense of comfort is indeed elusive.

BARBARA DIENER was born in 1982 in Germany and received her BFA in photography from the California College of the Arts and MFA in photography from Columbia College Chicago.
Her work has been exhibited at the Griffin Museum of Photography, Winchester, MA, Recession Art, Brooklyn, NY, Lilllstreet Art Center, Chicago, IL, Riverside Art Center, Chicago, IL. Pingyao Photo Festival, China, The Arcade, Chicago, IL, Philadelphia Photo Arts Center, Philadelphia, PA, Darkroom Gallery, Essex Junction, VT and Project Basho, Philadelphia, PA among others.
Diener is a winner of Flash Forward 2013, the recipient of a Follett Fellowship at Columbia College Chicago and was awarded the Albert P. Weisman Award in 2012 and 2013. She is currently working as the Photography Collection Assistant at the Art Institute Chicago.

More information about Barbara Diener can be found at

ACRE (Artists’ Cooperative Residency and Exhibition) was founded in 2010 with the ambition to provide the arts community with an affordable, cooperative, and dialogue-oriented residency program. The residency itself takes place each summer in rural southwest Wisconsin and brings together artists from across disciplines and levels of experience to create a regenerative community of cultural producers. Over the course of the following year ACRE endeavors to further support its residents by providing venues for exhibitions, idea exchange, interdisciplinary collaboration, and experimental projects.

More information about ACRE can be found at

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