Cindy Sherman Stays in the Picture

NEW YORK—Cindy Sherman has virtually created her own category of contemporary art over the past three decades, photographing herself in elaborate guises and costumes, portraying various time periods and personas, both male and female. She serves as photographer and model, hair and makeup artist, as well as wardrobe stylist. Often drawing inspiration from popular culture, media, fashion and art history, her portraits explore representation and identity.

Sherman is represented by Metro Pictures in the United States, where an exhibit of her large-scale images coincides with an impressive retrospective featuring more than 170 photographs at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). The series at Metro Pictures depicts Sherman outfitted in Chanel haute couture posing before rugged, forboding landscapes.

Part of the fascination with her photographs is surmising how she executes her work. The gallery explains Sherman’s process thus: “Rather than staging scenes in her studio or using projected images, the dramatic landscape backgrounds were all photographed by Sherman and then manipulated in Photoshop to achieve a painterly effect. She photographed herself fully costumed, but without makeup, against a green screen and after the fact completed the images by digitally manipulating her features and altering the landscapes.”

“Cindy Sherman” is on view at Metro Pictures until June 9, and the MoMA retrospective runs until June 11, 2012.

All photos by Arts Observer

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