Cindy Sherman ( American, 1954 )

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General Description

Cindy Sherman's photographs combine narrative allusions with a strong painterly style to express a sense of touching irony. Sherman herself poses for all the large-format color prints, and the guises she assumes are those of women who hover around the edge of experience. These women are caught in moments which suggest vulnerability and isolation, appearing to be heroines of movies from the 50s and early 60s. The undeniable emotional impact of the photographs is due to Sherman's ability to assume the roles of actress and artist without ridicule or mockery. The color in these photographs is lushly evocative, yet at the same time, curiously artificial, adding another level to the ambiguity of Sherman's imagery.

In this untitled photograph, the lush and fleshy feel of Sherman's body paired with the rich textures of crumpled cloth and distorted pose evoke Caravaggio's Baroque style. There is nothing mechanical about the haunted figure; the camera's illusionism is used to force a tormented experience on the viewer. The image projects a sense of abandonment and unease as well as an ambiguity of place and situation.

Adapted from

  • Anne R. Bromberg, "American Modernsim: Art and Technology," Dallas Museum of Art Bulletin, Spring/Summer 1988, 22-25.

  • DMA unpublished material, 1982.