Photographer Sarah Charlesworth, part of the Pictures Generation along with female artists Sherrie Levine and Laurie Simmons, explored representation and symbolism through photography, re-photography, and collage in a career that spanned 40 years.
In the early 1980s, she photographed white sculptural objects, a Buddha for example, set against a white background so that only the edges revealed the form. From 1983-1989 she produced her longest running series“Objects of Desire” for which she is best know. She cut out photographs of figures, statues, vessels, etc. from fashion magazines or archaeology textbooks. She then trimmed the pictures and collaged what remained onto bright color backgrounds, producing them in high gloss with matching lacquer frames.
In her 1991 “Renaissance Paintings” series she took individual figures or objects, isolated from the Renaissance painting in which they would have been seen, and rephotographed them against monochrome backgrounds again with matching frames. In 2002, Charlesworth photographed objects, alone or in groups, on fields of color to create a floating image. One example is “Tree.”
Her work has been shown in more than 40 solo exhibitions as well as in a retrospective at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Her work is in the permanent collections of major museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York’s Museum of Modern Art, Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Brooklyn Museum of Art.