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Art HERstory: Sandy Skoglund


Art HERstory: Sandy Skoglund

Art HERstory: Sandy Skoglund

The art of tableau vivant is a new but extremely interesting technique.  I’ve never heard of  ‘living pictures’ before I discovered the creations of Sandy Skoglund (1946 – ). The Massachusetts native took the French idea of taking costumed actors and placing them in intricate sets and made it her own. Fuse together acting, photography, and painting and add some vibrant colors and you’ve got a Sandy sensation. Honestly, she’s one of the top 5 Art HERstory features in my opinion.

'Hangers' (1980). I absolutely LOVE this photo! The colors, the layout, the repetitive item. EVERYTHING! Reminds me of my room on laundry day.

'Hangers' (1980). I absolutely LOVE this photo! The colors, the layout, the repetitive item. EVERYTHING! Reminds me of my room on laundry day.

Sandy began her career at Smith College. Her studies included art history and studio art. While at Smith, she was granted the opportunity to study in Paris at the Sorbonne and Ecole de Lovure. She graduated in 1968. Sandy then continued her education at the University of Iowa where she earned her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Fine Arts in painting. In Iowa is where she became familiar with filmmaking, multimedia art, and printmaking.

'Revenge of the Goldfish' (1981). The color contrast in this photo is dope. It almost looks like the fish are in their habitat and the humans invaded. All blue background like the water fish normally live in. I guess they did get their revenge!

'Revenge of the Goldfish' (1981). The color contrast in this photo is dope. It almost looks like the fish are in their habitat and the humans invaded. All blue background like the water fish normally live in. I guess they did get their revenge!

Immediately after college, it was time to apply book smarts to the real world. Sandy’s conceptual artwork began in NYC. She became a self-taught photographer to have a photo trail of her life and art. It was at this point she began experimenting with repetition in her art which would eventually become her claim to fame.

'Walking on Eggshells' (1997). A floor made of individually placed eggs. Can you imagine how long it took to construct this set? Sheesh!

'Walking on Eggshells' (1997). A floor made of individually placed eggs. Can you imagine how long it took to construct this set? Sheesh!

Tableaux art requires a lot of time and attention to detail. Sandy’s sets normally take years to create and shoot. Each set is meticulously planned and every aspect of set is carefully placed by hand. The last, and signature, piece of tableax are the live people who never speak or move during the photography of the set.

'Germs Are Everywhere' (1984). Germaphobes beware! I'm SO thankful we can't see these critters. Love the green backgroud though!

'Germs Are Everywhere' (1984). Germaphobes beware! I'm SO thankful we can't see these critters. Love the green backgroud though!

Sandy’s sets are easily identified by their bright, contrasting colors of monochromatic scheme. I think the color layouts for the sets are influenced by her infatuation with popular culture during the 1960s and 1970s. Lets remember, Sandy and Andy Warhol were creating during the same time.

'The Invisible Web' (1986). This tableu looks like something out of a high fashion layout. Notice that each of the floating pieces is a different photograph. Nice touch!

'The Invisible Web' (1986). This tableu looks like something out of a high fashion layout. Notice that each of the floating pieces is a different photograph. Nice touch!

Sandy had all she needed to become a successful artistic icon. She did just that. The brainstorm began and 1972 and hasn’t stopped since. She created non-stop and her works have been exhibited in the Museum of Contemporary Photography, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and Dayton Art Institute.

'Maybe Babies' (1983). Those babies look a little too real for me! Kinda creepy huh?

'Maybe Babies' (1983). Those babies look a little too real for me! Kinda creepy huh?

Sandy recently put down the camera and began teaching. She was a professor at the University of Hartford from 1973-1976. She now teaches photography and art instillation/multimedia at Rutgers University.

Image Layout: Phaymiss

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