“…one of the most honored American artists of her generation. Weems asks inconvenient questions and comes up with unwelcome answers. For that alone, no contemporary artist’s work is more important.”
– David Bonetti, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Carrie Mae Weems got involved in art when she was only 12 years old, engaging in street theater and dance. Weems received her first camera as a present for her twentieth birthday. This gift marked the beginning of a life-long appreciation for photography. In her adult years, she balanced motherhood, art, and her devotion to social justice in order to become the legendary contemporary artist that she is today.
Weems displays a preference for choosing African American subjects, and wants “people of color to stand for the human multitudes,” as her work was described in Carrie Mae Weems: Three Decades of Photography and Video. Using this mentality, she examines a great variety of topics: family dynamics, misogyny, class, and politics, building an image for herself as an artist who does not shy away from difficult subjects. She creates public art and video projects in addition to her photography.
This particular photograph is a part of her Kitchen Table series starring Weems as a woman surrounded by friends and family in her kitchen. The series contemplates the concept of domesticity and femininity.
I was immediately drawn to this photograph when I saw it. The way the light hits its subjects is so striking, and I love the natural feeling it evokes, which makes it all the more surprising once I realized they were posed shots. I think black and white photography is particularly great for seeing the relationship between light and shadow, and it’s really interesting to see how a photographer can express herself within a single, monochromatic frame.
~ Contributed by Maddie Sherer, communications intern and student at UNC-Asheville.