“Ever wonder what it is like to be weightless? British artist Sam Taylor-Wood knows, and she has the photographs to prove it. In her first solo U.S. exhibition, held at MOCA Cleveland, Taylor-Wood’s Self-Portrait Suspended series (2004) and Bram Stoker’s Chair (2005) series explore what it is like to defy gravity.””
Ever wonder what it is like to be weightless?
British artist Sam Taylor-Wood knows, and she has the photographs to prove it.
In her first solo U.S. exhibition, held at MOCA Cleveland, Taylor-Wood’s Self-Portrait Suspended series (2004) and Bram Stoker’s Chair (2005) series explore what it is like to defy gravity.
These clean and precise photographs show the artist frozen in various states of suspension in her London studio, seeming to float effortlessly in mid-air or precariously balancing one toe on a tilted chair.
Her photographs are graceful and elegant, yet cause a certain uneasiness in the viewer, who feels like the artist might suddenly drop from her free-floating state at any minute.
Nevertheless, the photographs offer feelings of joy and lightheartedness as they play to our sense of childlike fantasy and imagination.
Sam Taylor-Wood has risen to international fame within the past few years as a member of the Young British Artists (YBA) movement, a group of artists collectively showing their work at the White Cube Gallery in London.
Taylor-Wood works mainly in film and photography, mediums which allow her to explore themes such as emotional states, human psychology and vulnerability, death and the passage of time.
Her works often draw from art historical references, especially art produced during the Renaissance and Baroque periods.
Her 2001 two minute film version the Pieta shows the artist as the Virgin Mary holding actor Robert Downey Jr. as Christ, and offers a living and breathing interpretation of a subject typically reserved for immobile sculptues and paintings.
Taylor-Wood’s works are not all modern day spins on the past, however.
Many of her pieces appeal to contemporary audiences because she often uses celebrities and actors as her models. Take, for instance, her Crying Men series from 2002-2004.
Instead of the familiar paparazzi images plastered on grocery store magazines, these intimate photographs show well-known Hollywood actors removed from the glitz and glamor of their profession and experiencing a good cry, like any other human being.
Some of these portraits include images of actors such as Ed Harris, Benicio del Toro and Forest Whitaker, images that challenge the notion of the male movie star as hero and appeal to the viewer’s own emotional sensibilities.
Whether or not you consider yourself an art buff, there is surely something to catch your eye at Taylor Wood’s MOCA Cleveland show.
So instead of watching Superbad for the eighth time this weekend, perhaps you might consider dabbling in a little art.
The exhibition continues through May 11, so there is plenty of time to see it.
While you are there, check out Surge, a collection of paintings and prints by Kent State’s own resident artist and professor Craig Lucas.