Tag Archives: gillian wearing

Modern Art Monday Presents: Gillian Wearing, Me In History — A Conversation with the Work of Fantin-LaTour

gillian wearing painting photo by gail worley
Photo By Gail Worley

In this oil painting from 2021, Gillian Wearing expands on her Lockdown self-portraits by inserting herself into a 1877 painting by the French artist, Henri Fantin-Latour (1836 to 1904) entitled La Lecture (The Reading). The original painting depicts two women in a domestic setting, one of whom reads aloud from a book, while the other sits beside her listening. In her version, Wearing takes the place of the listener, but crops the image, shifting the focus from the act of reading to the relationship between the two figures. As in her Spiritual Family photographic series, Wearing assumes the identity of a historical figure, but here she plays the role of a subject rather than an artist. Carefully studying her female companion, she imagines herself in a time and place that limited women’s social lives to private spaces – not unlike those featured in Lockdown.

Photographed in the Guggenheim Museum in NYC.

Statue of Diane Arbus in Doris C. Freedman Plaza

diane arbus statue photo by gail worley
All Photos By Gail

Gilded monuments and bronze statues evoke the public art of a bygone era, though we’ve recently been reminded of the potent symbolic value they still hold. Artist Gillian Wearing (b. 1963, Birmingham, England) has been fascinated by these sculptures since childhood. For her, there’s something uncanny about a human form that appears immovable and changeless in a public setting. Wearing has alwasy made art about people, usually presented in unexpected ways, in photography, video, and more recently, sculpture.

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