October 17, 2009
Cui Xiuwen-Cindy Sherman-Frida Kahlo
Although Cui Xiuwen, Cindy Sherman and Frida Kahlo are female artists from different decades, who used different mediums, they all send clear messages about women’s issues through their work. Their work spans over eighty years, and explores the role of women in society.
While Kahlo and Sherman use themselves as their subjects, they place themselves in different situations. Kahlo uses bright colors and textures in her paintings, and in Sherman’s early work, “Untilted”, she uses only black and white in her photos. Sherman’s later work introduces bright colors in unexpected ways. Both Xiuwen and Sherman have innocence to their subjects. Sherman’s subjects are caught off guard by the viewer and in Xiuwen’s, her subjects are often innocent young ladies. I felt in their work that I was seeing something not openly talked about but something women have felt through out the years.
All of the women’s works seem surreal. Their conceptual style bridges their different backgrounds/cultures and countries which they grew up in. Xiuwen and Sherman deal with stereotypes that only woman have had to deal with through out history.
Some might find their work disturbing. Eg: Kahlo places herself on an operating table with the horrors of surgery. Xiuwen shows a beautiful young girl well dressed with bruises on her body and face. While Sherman’s subject is going about her normal day, someone is viewing her without permission.
Their work portrays women caught in situations all too familiar. Their medium skillfully helps portray their message. Unfortunately for Kahlo, her work was not recognized until years after her death. Both Sherman and Xiuwen received recognition and appreciation for their works at an early age and still currently receive wide praise.
I had a chance to see Kahlo and Sherman’s work in person and now look forward to seeing Xiuwen’s work exhibited.