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Photos Dress Up with Meaning

Artist-photographer Cindy Sherman has a favorite model – herself. But in each photograph, she dresses up and looks so completely in character that she's really not herself. Sherman's object is to create a “narrative fragment” in her photographs to make a strong statement on an issue.  Visitors to The Bruce Museum can see 30 of Sherman's unique works, including large-scale black-and-white and color photographs, beginning Jan. 29, in an exhibit, “Cindy Sherman: Works from Friends of the Bruce Museum.” The photographs are on loan from collections in Greenwich and surrounding communities. An artistic experimenter, the issues Sherman frequently explored in her work include women's roles, and how art is created and integrated into modern society.

On her website , Sherman explains that, growing up in Huntington, New York in the 50s and 60s, art wasn't really part of her family's vocabulary. Her attraction to it was late blooming. "It wasn't until college that I had any concept of what was going on in the art world. My idea of being an artist as a kid was a courtroom artist or one of those boardwalk artists who do caricatures. My parents had a book of, like, the one hundred one beautiful paintings, which included Dali and Picasso among the most recent artists."At college, after a stint studying painting, Sherman felt “...there was nothing more to say [with painting.]” Instead, she shifted to photography as her medium, also forming an artist's space to display her creations with fellow artist-students Robert Longo and Charles Clough.Later, in New York City, she devised her very well-known series of photographs, “Untitled Film Stills.” Among her most famous work, in them Sherman dresses up as B-movie actresses, to shine a light on how the world categorizes women. Her website says, “In each of these photographs, Sherman plays a type -- not an actual person, but a self-fabricated fictional one. There is the archetypal housewife, the prostitute, the woman in distress, the woman in tears, the dancer, the actress, and the malleable, chameleon-like Sherman plays all of these characters.”

Sherman's exhibit at the Bruce Museum runs through April 23. See it and get to know the work of an artist who broke the mold. Museum admission is $6 and $7. For more information, visit the Museum's website.

Have you ever seen Cindy Sherman's work? What's your reaction to it? Let us know by posting below.

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