Cindy Sherman

A Comparative Essay comparing artist’s views regarding contemporary issues Introduction This essay will be a comparison of my work in comparison to Cindy Sherman’s and another related artist’s work. The essay will explain why they appeal to me and their influences on me. As an artist, I want people to visually question my work, as I feel there is more of an impact if the work is questionable. I try and make my work somewhat unique and humorous, for example in a recent piece about facial expression I created a photographic collage that was structured in its overall appearance yet the actual images of myself were peculiar.

The piece consisted of about thirty photographs (approximately four centimeters square) with me pulling very different expressions which I would not normally pull. It was interesting to see people’s reactions to the piece and to have a piece of work that reflected a part of my personality in a gallery. I liked to see people’s reactions to the piece as they questioned what I had done and did not understand it. Their body language was quite negative towards the work, yet the people who knew me as an individual found the humorous side to it.

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In my opinion, what I did was frowned upon by the onlookers because it is not normal for somebody to take thirty small photographs of themselves pulling bizarre humorous faces. But with doing something so different I got the reaction that I wanted from public. I feel my work is controversial and diverse which is one of the reasons why am interested in Cindy Sherman’s work. Cindy does not have a clear justification when producing her work. In my mind she produces her work through a notion, a feeling, something she has dreamt about, or something she has done.

In this way my own photography work relates to this as I do not think too much about what I am visually trying to produce. I don’t look too deeply into the reasons my own photography work is a part of me. I am doing something unique to my mind and I like to see peoples’ reactions from my work, whatever they may be. I did a photography piece with about 30 different self portraits of me pulling faces. To me, it was just about different facial expressions, but if you were to critique it there is a lot of feeling and thought put into the piece.

Everyone has a different face for the way they are feeling and ultimately we all hide behind a mask. Facial expression is akin to body language how you interpret that someone’s face tells you how someone is feeling. I like picking up on peoples’ body language and at times trying to read people. I think it gives you some kind of insight as to what the person is actually like. The Artists Why do they appeal to you? CS – Controversial Brief background to their lives CS – criticizes herself as a woman Guggenheim (no date) discusses Sherman’s upbringing as ……………………. Or – Sherman was born in …………………….. Guggenheim, no date) Outline their art type. CS – photography Stereotying in general Stereotypes CS – rebelling against the idea of stereotyping which is portrayed in my own work and what we are expected to conform to in a mass society, i. e. dressing to conformity gives a sense of security, like uniform. People can become suspicious if you are not conforming to what people preconceive as ‘normal’. Normal being what the mass majority think and are used to which is conventional. Society has preconceived ideas that you are strange, weird and odd if you don’t conform.

Exploiting the conformity of society based on people’s preconceived ideas and prescriptive way of thinking CS is photographing what she sees as stereotyped cliches of women in her ‘film stills’ however, Krauss (2006, p. 5) argues that through the acclaim she has received she has in fact ‘inverted the terms of her work and what has been held up for critical inspection has been transposed into the grounds of praise’. Krauss suggests that the ‘film stills’ do not refer to any real films and are a result of Sherman’s imagination of her ‘fantasy’s of herself in certain roles’.

Clothing in general Through clothes we are expressing ourselves as an individual expressing our personality and we are not always able to do that. Status, wealth and poverty can be portrayed through clothes. People may be discriminated against if they do not dress according to the occasion and conform to the expected norms. Minority of society can be intimidated and feel insecure by some one dressing inappropriately. Clothing that is unfamiliar to another person becomes questionable to them.

Dress can create an impression that is not always predictive of the personality of the individual, yet dress is a visual concept of someone that can be a reflection of their personality. Clothes can make you feel good about yourself and show to some degree how someone is feeling. Artist’s use of dress and clothing CS portrayed herself in different outfits, similar to a piece of artwork that I undertook. These showed different roles that people carry out. Gender in general Artist’s use of gender Sexuality in general Artist’s use of sexuality Conclusion