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Cindy Sherman (1954-)Cindy Sherman

Fine Art

Biography: in full - CYNTHIA MORRIS SHERMAN. American photographer, known for her images--particularly her elaborately "disguised" self-portraits--that comment on social role-playing and sexual stereotypes.

Sherman grew up on Long Island, New York. In 1972 she enrolled at the State University College at Buffalo and majored in painting, later switching her major to photography. She graduated from the State University College at Buffalo in 1976 and in 1977 began work on Untitled Film Stills (1977-80), one of her best-known series. The series of 8 10-inch black-and-white photographs featuring Sherman herself in a variety of roles is reminiscent of film noir and presents viewers with an ambiguous portrayal of women as sex objects. Sherman stated that the series was "about the fakeness of role-playing as well as contempt for the domineering 'male' audience who would mistakenly read the images as sexy." She continued to be the model in her photographs, donning wigs and costumes to challenge cultural stereotypes.

During the 1980s Sherman began to use colour film, to exhibit very large prints, and to concentrate more on lighting and facial expression. Using prosthetic appendages and liberal amounts of makeup, Sherman moved into the realm of the grotesque and the sinister with photographs that featured mutilated bodies and reflected such concerns as eating disorders, insanity, and death. Her work became less ambiguous, focusing perhaps more on the results of society's acceptance of stereotyped roles for women than upon the roles themselves. During the 1990s Sherman returned to ironic commentary upon clichéd female identities, introducing mannequins to some of her photographs. In 1997 she directed the dark comedy film Office Killer. She followed this in 1999 with an exhibition of disturbing images of savaged dolls and doll parts that extended her interest in juxtaposing violence and artificiality. (Encyclopedia Britannica)

More on Cindy Sherman:

Cindy Sherman - Her Masquerade
'Excellent site, Featuring Several of Sherman's Images.

NYU Grey Art Gallery - Cindy Sherman
Wonderful Presentation of Sherman's work.
(click on Sherman at top of page to view work)

Tate Gallery, London
Collection of Sherman's Images

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