"Art has to be about something. When teaching, I consider the students as artists and emphasize content."
Barbara Ess' work has been the subject of cover stories in Artforum and Art in America magazines. She has had one-woman shows at the High Museum of Art, Atlanta; Curt Marcus Gallery, New York; Faggionato Fine Arts, London; and Fundacion la Caixa, Barcelona, and at galleries in Madrid, Los Angeles, Paris, Antwerp, Cologne, and Washington. In 1993 the Queens Museum curated the traveling exhibition "Barbara Ess: Photography, Installation and Books."
The critic Carlo McCormick has written that her work "draws our attention to the intense primal emotions and experiences that exist like brittle moments of truth even within the world of simulation." Her book, I Am Not This Body, was selected as one of the ten top photography books of the year by the Village Voice.