The popular view of Cindy Sherman as a master of disguise does scant justice to an artist who uses what is clearly an inherent facility with the dark arts of reinvention to challenge our understanding of identity and integrity.In her able hands, latex, panstick and thriftstore clothing replace brush, palette and pigments to become tools of fine art.
Shermans latest work shows us the artist as an array of aged socialites, a subject matter which allows her to explore her fascination with the representation of aging and notions of gender and self representation. The artist has said that this latest work was triggered by a trove of cast-off gowns found in an Upper East Side thriftstore, sparking a creative process that has resulted in these challenging portraits. On first sight these images are caricatures, with a dark comedy evoked by their outlandish garb and trowelled on make-up, but on closer inspection the pathos of the images starts to dominate, with the red rimmed eyes of the subject speaking of hollow sadness and undermining the images of luxury evidenced by the clothes, coiffures, manicures and jewels. Far from being masters of the universe, these women appear trapped behind their self constructed facades of wealth.