Born 1947 in East Orange, NJ
Died 2013 in Hartford, CT
In a career that spanned more than three decades, Sarah Charlesworth produced a body of work that questioned and expanded the limits of photography, drawing attention to the artifice of the camera and of photography while producing multilayered yet formally concise images that address the many philosophical, political, and personal dimensions of the act of looking.
In Camera Work (whose title references Alfred Stieglitz’s [1864–1946] pioneering photographic journal), the silhouetted image of a camera is presented in both positive and negative, images that are visually opposed but ultimately form a reciprocal diagram of photographic production; the camera stands in for the labor and the vision of the artist herself. For a more recent work, Regarding Venus, Charlesworth cut out a figure from a painting by French artist Francis Picabia (1879–1953) and affixed it to a sheet of paper, then photographed the form silhouetted against the light from her studio’s window. This figure is mirrored in the opposing panel by an appropriated image of the planet Venus—referencing, in the work’s layers of imagery, the classical personification of beauty and desire as well as the strange mystery and wholeness of the celestial orb itself, locked in the silhouetted figure’s gaze.
Sarah Charlesworth’s work is on view in the Museum’s fourth floor galleries.