Tom Baril (American, b.1952) is one of the nation's leading photographic artists, and is known for his unique approach to portraying common objects, such as flowers. Baril was born in Connecticut in 1952, and studied photography at New York's School of Visual Arts, graduating with a BA in 1980. Early in his career, Baril was the printmaker for famed artist Robert Mapplethorpe, but he eventually broke out on his own, and purposely distanced himself from Mapplethorpe's work and style to make a name for himself.

Baril is known for his expert work with 4x5 Polaroid pinhole and 8x10 collodion wet-plate photography. His talent lies in photographing commonplace items and scenes and portraying them in a way that goes beyond the surface. Baril's photographs of sea shells, tulips, bridges, and other architecture capture the beauty, savagery, and sadness of nature. His photos have been featured in two monographs as well as two books, Tom Baril in 1997, and Botanica in 1999. His work has been featured in many publications and collections at institutions including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, and the Fogg Museum at Harvard University. Baril is known for collections such as 10 Flowers, Gum, and DC Portfolio. Baril's early work was rarely exhibited publicly, and is primarily known through The American Diner and A Sense of Place. His diner photographs are stark representations of how America once depended on its highways. Many of the diners were shining examples of modern architecture that later fell into disrepair. Both sets of his early work were created between 1977 and 1986, when he was still learning the craft and traveling the United States

While distancing himself from Mapplethorpe's work, Baril has continued to print for the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. His technique goes far beyond simple photography and extends into the darkroom. Baril is considered a master of film development, using techniques such as applying selenium to prints and placing them in black tea to create a gold patina.

Baril lives and works in New York, NY.

Timeline

1952
Born in Putnam, CT
1979
BFA, School of Visual Arts, New York, NY
1979
Began working for Robert Mapplethorpe
Lives and works in New York
Collections: Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA; Smith College, Northampton, MA; Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, MA; Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington, DE; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; Center for Creative Photography, Tucson, AZ; George Eastman House, Rochester, NY; The Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY; Houston Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Canadian Center for Architecture, Montreal; Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, MA; Vereins Und Westbank AG, Hamburg, Germany; Chase Manhattan Bank, New York City; Fidelity Investments, Boston, MA; Johnson & Johnson, New Brunswick, NJ; Alan Seigel Collection; Elton John Collection; Ralph Lauren Collection; Hallmark Photographic Collection, Kansas City, MO

Exhibitions

2005
Metropolis Gallery, Bologna, Italy (solo)
2005
The Ralls Collection, Washington, DC (solo)
2004
FotoFest, Houston, TX
2003
Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago, IL (solo)
2002
Jolla, CAThe Ralls Collection, Washington, D.C.William Shearburn Gallery, St. Louis, MODavis Keil Gallery, Naples, FL (solo)
2002
“What Were You Thinking?,” Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago, IL
2002
Robert Koch Gallery, San Francisco, CA (solo)
2001
Chicago Botanic Garden, Chicago, IL
2001
Works on Paper, Philadelphia, PABonni Benrubi Gallery, NYC (solo)
2000
Carla Sozanni Gallery, Milan, ItalyRobert Klein Gallery, Boston, MAFahey/Klein Gallery, Los Angeles, CA Works on Paper, Philadelphia, PA (solo)
2000
The Ralls Collection, Inc. Washington, DC
2000
Works on Paper Philadelphia, PA
2000
Robert Koch Gallery, San Francisco, CAThe Ralls Collection, Washington, D.C.Winston Wachtner Fine Art, Seattle, WA (solo)
2000
Five Years, Candace Perich Gallery
2000
Wall Street, Bonni Benrubi Gallery New York, NY
1999
Sea Change - The Seascape in Contemporary Photography, International Center of Photography New York, NY
1999
Bonni Benrubi Gallery New York, NY (solo)
1999
Catherine Edelman Gallery Chicago, IL (solo)
1999
Fahey/Klein Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (solo)
1999
Irving Galleries, Palm Beach, FL (solo)
1998
Verso Gallery Tokyo, Japan (solo)
1998
Byron Mapp Gallery, Sydney, Australia (solo)
1998
Anne Reed Gallery, Ketchum, ID (solo)
1998
International Center of Photography New York, NY
1998
Waterproof, Parquet Expo '98 Lisbon, Portugal
1997
“Gallery Artists 1997,” Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago, IL
1997
Robert Koch Gallery, San Francisco, CA (solo)
1997
“Flowers,” Bonni Benrubi Gallery, New York, NY
1997
Allene LaPides Gallery Santa Fe, NM (solo)
1996
Catherine Edelman Gallery Chicago, IL (solo)
1996
John Cleary Gallery Houston, TX (solo)
1996
Bonni Benrubi Gallery New York, NY (solo)
1996
Jane Jackson Gallery Atlanta, GA
1996
“Recent Acquisitions,” Center for Creative Photography, Tucson, AZ
1996
Karen McCready Gallery, New York, NY
1996
Hamilton's Gallery, London, England
1995
Robert Klein Gallery Boston, MA (solo)
1995
Fahey/Klein Gallery Los Angeles, CA (solo)
1995
From New York to L.A., Society for Contemporary Photography Kansas City, KS
1995
Robert Koch Gallery San Francisco, CA
1994
The Ralls Collection Washington, D.C.
1994
Staley Wise Gallery New York, NY
1992
River Run Gallery Ketchum, ID
1989
ArtLink Wayne, IN
1989
Long Island University Brooklyn, NY
1988
Ledel Gallery New York, NY (solo)
1988
Drew University Madison, NJ (solo)
1988
Little-John Smith Gallery, New York, NY
1987
Center for Metropolitan Studies, Univ. of Missouri St. Louis, MO (solo)
1987
Santa Cruz Operations Santa Cruz, CA (solo)
1987
Photo Collect Gallery, New York, NY
1986
Albrecht Art Museum St. Joseph, MO (solo)
1985
Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery, Lincoln, NE
1984
Ledel Gallery New York, NY (solo)
1982
City Gallery, New York Cultural Center, New York, NY

Literature

2000
Tom Baril: Botanica, Arena Editions
1996
Tom Baril, 4AD