Article: Khari Walser.
I consider Cindy Sherman to be a consistent voice in the art world. She has found a way to discuss the female experience without a word, and reinvent herself every time. With a career that has produced memorable work since the 1970s, Cindy Sherman has proven that her voice is worth hearing. Her use of costume, make up, theatrics, modelling and sometimes a bit of comedy, makes her work so engaging.
All these attributes of her work are more than present in a recent small show at the Metro Pictures Gallery in New York.
In these sets of photos, Sherman portrays an array of older female characters from the 20th century accompanied by a background that looks like a movie set. Sherman harkens back to her early untitled film stills of the 1970s, but shows women who have reached a certain point in their lives where their role in society has changed. The viewer is encouraged to formulate a story about these women, because there are no descriptions, all you have is the photograph.
The fact that there is no name or description for any of these photographs shows a distinct difference between going to a small gallery like this, and a museum where everything is spoon fed to you. Every person that experiences the art this way will have a different opinion, a different thought process and a different conclusion as to who these women are.
While spending time in this exhibit, at first glance I didn’t know what to make of these photographs. I was amazed at her transformations and found myself chuckling when looking at certain pictures, but I wasn’t sure why. My second and third times going around to each photo I found myself analyzing what the characters were wearing, what hair and make up they wore, and what background they stood in front of.
I realized that each and every thing in the photograph was significant and contributed to her story. Sherman representing the stories of women like Elizabeth Taylor and the iconic character Norma Desmond from the 1950 film Sunset Boulevard. However, I wasn’t sure if it was really them she was trying to embody. They were just women that I immediately identified the photograph with.
Seeing all these female characters drove me to the conclusion that Sherman portrayed these women to show the outcome of different women in society. Whether you are a glorified celebrity or a stay at home mom, as a woman in the world there is a point where your significance is questioned, unrecognized, or underestimated, especially later in life. It is the job of not just women everywhere but society as a whole to recognize that the presence of women in society is not just significant, but essential and worth our respect.
METRO PICTURES GALLERY
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