On Friday evening, I attended the opening of Maccarone Gallery’s first exhibition of work by the late artist Sarah Charlesworth. The show Objects of Desire: 1983 – 1988 is made up of work from a series of photographs she first exhibited in the 80s, two of which I have in my collection.
In this series, Charlesworth took images she cut out of print materials and juxtaposed them against solid color backgrounds and placed them in frames of the same color. Playing with positive and negative space, scale and color, Charlesworth infused multiple levels of meaning on each iconic image. Through her process of re-photographing and monochromatically displaying the images, Charlesworth was able to change how the emblematic images are perceived. Her work was a commentary on consumerist society that still resonates decades later.
Sarah Charlesworth was included in The Pictures Generation exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2009 alongside more famously known artists like Cindy Sherman and Barbara Kruger, who also appropriated pop culture imagery as commentary on consumer society. Two works by Charlesworth are in the current Whitney Biennial and she has another exhibition opening in September at the Art Institute of Chicago.