Cindy Sherman exhibition at GoMA

SHERMAN, Cindy United States b.1954 Untitled 2007/2008 Colour photograph mounted on aluminium ed. of 6, AP 1/1 158.6 x 177.8cm Acc. 2011.084 Purchased 2011 with funds from Tim Fairfax, AM, through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation

Cindy Sherman- Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane

By Elizabeth Ralph

The return of Cindy Sherman as the model of her 2000’s works is currently on display at the

Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane. The anticipation for the famed artist’s display is exacerbated due to it

being her first Australian exhibiton in 15 years. Sherman’s work spans forty years, her

abilities in masquerade places her as one of the world’s most formidable photographic artists. Sherman’s

importance to the art industry is exemplified by the display of her works in galleries such as

Stockholm’s Moderna Museet, Museum of Modern Art- New York and the Walker Art Centre.

Upon entering the exhibition, you are greeted with Sherman’s Head Shots series. The series depicts

a variety of glammed up characters that Sherman has constructed using her arsenal of talents

inclusive of makeup artistry and costuming. The characters demand the audience’s attention, each

character drips with an abundance that pleads to be aesthetically pleasing to the ‘social’. Yet despite

the character’s intention they are perverse to the ambitions of the gendered constructs of the

‘desirable’. Sherman’s ability to critique the codified gender roles is undoubtedly influenced by her

fruition as an artist taking place on the back-end of the American Feminism wave of the 70’s.

The traditional portraiture style implores naturally a pretence of acting for any person being

depicted, the character’s performance is purely judged by the ability to be believed. The

characters of Head Shots, through their excess, undermine the public image they wish to install and deny the

realities of their embodied experiences. Sherman’s expert use of mass media and fashion signifiers

throughout Head Shots, stimulates the audience to question the narcissism inherent to the current

media and selfie generation, further substantiating her place amongst the ‘Picture Generation’.

Sherman’s return as the model within her works enables her to achieve greater control over the

production of the character, while simultaneously allowing each character to be recognisable in their

universality and be lost in the ambiguity of the masquerade. The collection highlights the

relationship between the privatised self and the public actor, suggesting a sacredness and comicality

to these aspired norms.

Cindy Sherman’s work will be hosted by GOMA until the 3rd of October. The exhibition provides an

excellent opportunity for the public to question their own perspectives on gender, the social, age

and fashion.

Cindy Sherman Untitled, 2010/2011 (MP# CS--512)

Cindy Sherman Untitled, 2000 (MP# CS--355)

Cindy Sherman Untitled, 2004 (MP# CS--424)

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