Thursday, 5 January 2012

Francesca Woodman Exhibition - Ferens Art Gallery - June/October 2011

Woodman’s work is not conventional but explores issues of gender and self, looking at representation of the body in relation to its surroundings.
Woodman uses people as objects or as narrative in her work, but often conceals their faces giving the images an uneasy feeling. It makes the viewer question her motives for doing this as she also appears in much of her own work. Is this to exploit the issues of identity or merely someone trying to escape or hide?

Looking at Woodman’s work can often be a disconcerting experience which replicates the work of Bellocq’s ‘Storyville Portraits’ of New Orleans prostitutes. Alike to Bellocq, Woodman uses nudity to portray vulnerability whilst again touching on the issues of identity and self-worth. Brandt also experimented with narrative in his work, posing his wife, Eva Baros, as a night walker in the red light district of Hamberg. His images displayed an aspect of realism which was modern and crude.

Like the majority of her work, the lack of colour emphasises the tone and form. She uses little light which creates shadows and extenuates the objects within, giving the image an eerie mood. 

Another artist who also appears in his work is Ross Sinclair. He also uses his work as narratives and ‘combines text, colour and graphics to test notions of personal and national identity and questions the notion of truth in life and art itself’. Alike to Woodman he uses himself as the subject matter expressing strong, social opinions and commentary, whilst exploring identity. Sinclair also obscures his face from view. In his series of images from his ‘Real Life’ collection ‘Duff House’, it seems as though you are a spectator in his world, watching him pass from room to room in a grand and majestic home, tattooed and half naked, seemingly disconnected with his surroundings. This suggests a paradox of the character with his environment.

Unlike Woodman, Sinclair uses strong, powerful colours in his work. This is to the images advantage as each display grandeur and elegance. Woodman’s lack of colour also benefits her work. Though both Sinclair and Woodman’s subject matter and reasons for their art are similar, their way of projecting their work are completely contradictory.


  1. I loved this exhibition, wish I'd gone to see it a few more times before it finished x

  2. Me too! Her uncompromising approach to photography made her work unique. It certainly opened my eyes to focusing on less conventional arrangements.

  3. Yep... didn't she leave little notes with her pictures dotted about her house for her boyfriend to find?

  4. I'm not sure about that, but she does use a lot of suggestive text in her work!