British Columbia·Photos

Cindy Sherman exhibit at the Vancouver Art Gallery takes self-image to another level

A new exhibit at the Vancouver Art Gallery is putting the spotlight on an artist whose focus on portraiture has renewed relevance in our digital age of selfies and constructed self-images. 

Retrospective of the renowned American artist runs Oct. 26, 2019 to Mar. 8, 2020

Cindy Sherman's Untitled Film Still #17, 1978 on silver gelatin print. (Courtesy of the Artist and Metro Pictures, New York)

A new exhibit at the Vancouver Art Gallery is putting the spotlight on an artist whose focus on portraiture has renewed relevance in our digital age of selfies and constructed self-images. 

American photographer Cindy Sherman, considered one of the world's great contemporary artists, has spent her 40-year career manipulating her own image through her photographers, transforming her appearance using props, costumes, hair and makeup. 

The retrospective — which spans from the 1970s with her student work right through to 2019 — was organized in collaboration with the U.K's National Portrait Gallery.

Four Cindys, one photo. Cindy Sherman's Untitled #577, 2016/18; a dye sublimation metal print. (Courtesy of the Artist and Metro Pictures, New York)

Magda Keaney, the senior curator at the National Portrait Gallery, says Sherman's work explores cultural archetypes, character and identities that are prevalent in historical and contemporary society. 

"It's quite an ... intense and strange project to have photographed herself over such a long period of time," Keaney said to guest host Jason D'Souza on CBC's On The Coast.  

Keany says when Sherman started her work in the 1970s, there was nowhere near the contemporary awareness of the selfie or what it meant to photograph yourself all the time. 

Cindy Sherman's Untitled #466, 2008, a chromogenic print. (Courtesy of the Artist and Metro Pictures, New York)

"It's interesting to consider it in 2019 when we live in a contemporary culture that's kind of obsessed with self image."

"Cindy Sherman" runs at the Vancouver Art Gallery until March 8, 2020.

Cindy Sherman's Untitled #546, 2010/12; a chromogenic print. (Courtesy of the Artist and Metro Pictures, New York)

Listen to the full interview with curator Magda Keaney on CBC's On The Coast:

With files from On The Coast

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.