News Biography Cindy Sherman is an American photographer and filmmaker whose self-portraits offer critiques of gender and identity. What made Sherman famous is the use of her own body in roles or personas in her work, with her seminal series Untitled Film Stills — being particularly important.
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They compose one part of the Cindy Sherman retrospective, which covers forty years of the artist's work to the present.
Much has been written about Cindy Sherman's Untitled Films Stills and what they tell us about the impact that cinema has on our lives. Yet few commentators have offered to speculate on what cinematic art and artists have taught Cindy Sherman about composing cinematic shots, conveying pictorial illusion, and constructing an overall vision.
I'm referring to the directors and cinematographers whose camera angles, visual styles and pictorial compositions have helped to shape Sherman's evocative pictorial scenes.
Or the actors from whom she has learned the gestures and expressions that convey specific meanings and relationships with the viewer. And Sherman has somewhere learned to measure out the right amount of restraint and ambiguity to impart a sense there is a hidden story both in her pictures and behind their making, along with the craft of creating a visual ambivalence and tension which piques and then sustains our interest as viewers while inviting us to project onto Sherman's pictures our own imaginariums of fiction and desire.
To put it bluntly, whereas most of the writing on Cindy Sherman centers around an analogy of the artist as an actress assuming roles, it strikes me as more accurate to summarize Sherman as a director who oversees every aspect of the feature she is starring in.
Perhaps it is the gender barrier once again making critics and commentators more inclined to compare Sherman's accomplishments to actresses instead of to film directors, who are even today largely male.
The Cindy Sherman I knew in Buffalo, New York, from to had a good deal of exposure to foreign cinema and experimental films. Buffalo in the late s was a model laboratory for artists interested in dismantling boundaries between media.
At the time that Sherman lived and worked in Buffalo, she was privy to the fluid exchange of influences among the artists and programmers working at all these venues and in all the exhibited media.
The Hallwalls complex where she lived in her early twenties regularly received film industry publications containing studio promotions and film rental catalogues overflowing with vintage Hollywood and European film stills -- the kind of raw material an artist with a camera and a predilection for the signage of melodrama rifles through for inspiration.
It's this background of influences that has convinced me that Sherman absorbed and assimilated both an intuitive understanding of the commercial film industry and at least an overview of the semiotic film theory that was being circulated all around her during that formative period in her career.
All of which tells me that we will learn more about Sherman's Untitled Film Stills if we study them as a response to cinematic techniques and film histories than projecting on them the social and political theories that have been developed in the decades since she made and introduced them.
It's true that to some degree the lessons of cinema bear on all photographers who stage their own photographs. But a photographic series that explicitly models and parodies midth century film with as much virtuoso aplomb as the Untitled Films Stills has to be richly informed by a diversely specialized lexicon of visual techniques and pictorial signage that is the result of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of artists and skilled laborers within the film industry, most of whom go unrecognized.
Sherman herself has been coy about naming all but a few cinematic sources for her work--Alfred Hitchcock, Sophia Loren, David Lynch. The artworld avant-garde usually prefers to divorce itself from precedent, not pronounce or reinforce it.
But tracing the lineage of an artist's influences is not by any means a diminishment of the artist's skill, especially for someone who is as adept at pictorial composition and iconographic summary as Sherman.
After all, artists have for centuries honed their skills and compositions by copying iconography and techniques from the masters who have preceded them until a truly singular artist arrives at a style unique to that artist.
What's different here is that before Cindy Sherman, few photographic artists honed their talents by copying or appropriating prior photographic and cinematic work. In fact, in comparing Sherman'sUntitled Films Stills to the iconic shots we've inherited from the world's innovative film directors, cinematographers and actors, I've found that Sherman not only improves on the masters' techniques, at times her images command more iconic power for being unburdened by the imperatives of real narrative.
Art and articulation, after all, are often found to be incompatible, even canceling one or the other out.Cindy Sherman is one of the most influential artists of our time.
She belongs to a generation who redefined the photograph and its place in an ever more visually oriented culture. Taking as her starting point the roles appointed to women in photographs, she .
May 05, · Cindy Sherman: A Retrospective () begins with Sherman’s series of Untitled Film Stills, images she produced throughout the late s. In this series, Sherman dresses up in different outfits, makeup and wigs, and photographs herself in a variety of locales and situations.
A thirty-five year career in photography has established Cindy Sherman as one of the most influential figures in contemporary art.
Since the s, she has created photographic portraits that are predicated on themes of identity, gender and role-play. Parodying the representation of women in film.
Cindy Sherman's Untitled Film Stills, a series of 69 black-and-white photographs created between and , is widely seen as one of the most original and influential achievements in recent rutadeltambor.comality: American.
Cindy Sherman’s Untitled Film Stills In this series of 69 black-and-white photographs, Sherman posed herself in various melodramatic guises that recall the stereotypical feminine characters presented in 8 x 10 publicity stills for B-grade movies from the s and s.
The exhibition Cindy Sherman – Untitled Horrors has been composed to emphasise the disturbing, grotesque and disquieting sides of Sherman’s pictures.
These are aspects that are visible in her exploration of well-established photographic genres such as film stills, fashion photography or classic portraits, as well as in series with titles.