Friday, September 7, 2012

Thanksgiving 1984 (Green Dress) by Roe Etheridge

Another interesting article discussing the work of Roe Etheridge came across my "desk" yesterday.  The image mentioned in the post title (and represented below) seems particularly apt in light of our discussion of the role of color in light in photographs of "special occasions" yesterday in Memory and the Photograph.  I've included excerpts of text by Max Weintraub from the ART21 blog below:

"Thanksgiving 1984 (Green Dress) has the look and feel of an image culled from a stock photography catalog precisely because it employs the visual language of commercial photography: its vibrant, highly saturated colors and carefully balanced formal composition, its young, beautiful model, and a spread of products and produce arranged for no other purpose than our visual consumption.  But in a neat postmodern twist, Ethridge’s meticulously constructed image reveals itself as just that, a construction.  Looking further at the image, it becomes apparent that the scale is off between the model and the surrounding objects and the depth of field is inconsistent, giving the composition a collaged or Photoshopped feel.  The model’s pose and expression, meant to signal warmth, spontaneity and naturalness, seem contrived, and her seductive, couture dress appears incongruous with the image’s theme of domesticity and the family-oriented ritual of Thanksgiving.  The model’s perfect smile, dress and carefully positioned body reveal not a family snapshot but an image deeply informed by the conventions of the commercial advertisement and the telltale signs of the packaging of luxury goods.  It is perhaps not surprising, then, that the title of Ethridge’s photograph foregrounds the luxury item presumably being hawked, should this have been a real advertising image: the green dress."

I encourage you to read the entire essay (which also includes a discussion of Hiroshi Sugimoto's wax figure portraits) HERE.

Roe Ethridge. “Thanksgiving 1984 (Green Dress),” 2009. Chromogenic print, 44 x 33 in. (111.8 x 83.8 cm). Courtesy the artist and Andrew Kreps Gallery.

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