Francesca Woodman

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Overview

Artists who arrive fully formed at a young age always dazzle, and Francesca Woodman was one of the most gifted and dazzling artist prodigies in recent history. In 1972, the 13-year-old Woodman made a black-and-white photograph of herself sitting at the far end of a sofa in her home in Boulder, Colorado. Her face is obscured by her hair, light radiates from an unseen source behind her out at the viewer through her right hand. This photograph typifies much of what would characterize Woodman's work to come: a ...
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Overview

Artists who arrive fully formed at a young age always dazzle, and Francesca Woodman was one of the most gifted and dazzling artist prodigies in recent history. In 1972, the 13-year-old Woodman made a black-and-white photograph of herself sitting at the far end of a sofa in her home in Boulder, Colorado. Her face is obscured by her hair, light radiates from an unseen source behind her out at the viewer through her right hand. This photograph typifies much of what would characterize Woodman's work to come: a semi-obscured female form merging with or flailing against a somewhat bare and often dilapidated interior. In an oeuvre of around 800 photographs made in just nine years, Woodman performed her own body against the textures of wallpaper, door frame, baths and couches, radically extending the Surrealist photography of Man Ray, Hans Bellmer and Claude Cahun and creating a mood and language all her own. In the 30 years since her untimely death, Woodman has gained a following among successive generations of artists and photographers, a testament to her work's undeniable immediacy and enduring appeal Amid a renewed intensification of interest in Francesca Woodman, this volume is published for a major touring exhibition of her photographs and films at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim. Containing many previously unpublished photographs, it is the definitive Francesca Woodman monograph.
Francesca Woodman (1958-1981) was born in Denver, Colorado, to the well-known artists George and Betty Woodman. In 1975 she attended the Rhode Island School of Design, and in 1979 she moved to New York, to attempt to build a career in photography. In 1981, at the age of 22, she committed suicide.
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Editorial Reviews

W Magazine
Franesca Woodman's black and white portraits have a way of getting under your skin.
— Hilarie M Sheets
American Photo
This is a comprehensive monograph of Francesca Woodman's photographic oeuvre, which as achieved cult status is the 30 years since the artist's brief yet prolific career ended when she took her life at age 22.
— Jack Crager
The New York Times
Even though they are quite small, about 5 by 5 inches, Woodman's haunting photographs have drawn admirers for decades.
— Ted Loos
The New York Times - Ken Johnson
In an exceptionally informative catalog essay for the present exhibition, the art historian Julia Bryan-Wilson surveys the critical and art historical literature that has proliferated around Woodman's oeuvre.
Francesca Woodman, the photographer who took her own life at 22 in 1981, is as close to a true saint as the putatively secular world of contemporary art can claim. The dreamy, formally playful and disarmingly erotic pictures Woodman made - mostly of herself partly unclothed or naked - project a self surrendering unreservedly to the spirit of art it remains a poignant record of adolescent joy, fear, ambition and angst. It was not only her body that she exposed - she bared her soul too, and that is a rare and beautiful thing.
The New York Times - Ted Loos
Even though they are quite small, about 5 by 5 inches, Woodman's haunting photographs have drawn admirers for decades.
W Magazine - Hilarie M Sheets
Franesca Woodman's black and white portraits have a way of getting under your skin.
American Photo - Jack Crager
This is a comprehensive monograph of Francesca Woodman's photographic oeuvre, which as achieved cult status is the 30 years since the artist's brief yet prolific career ended when she took her life at age 22.
Library Journal
Two of the finest recent monographs on contemporary photographers, these publications use completely different presentations to highlight each artist's work to its best advantage. Jacobson's blurry black-and-white images, which he has described as an "ongoing meditation around desire, loss, and the role of photography as a vehicle for remembrance," offer hazy apparitions, stand-ins for our own lost acquaintances, friends, and lovers. Presented chronologically, the 49 pictures here progress from mostly light, nearly recognizable images of people in familiar settings through fading portraits to almost black, abstract seascapes. The design is minimal, with one exquisitely printed sheet-fed gravure per spread; there is no text, but a short story about a lost love by curator Kertess and a list of plates close the volume. Though she committed suicide in 1981 when she was just 22 years old, Woodman remains influential and her work looks as fresh and startling as that of anyone working today. The daughter of artists, she immersed herself in photography from the time she received her first camera and was recognized early as an exceptional talent. She most frequently used herself or, more precisely, her body as subject, and she produced a wide range of work, from surreal tableaux to story boards to fleeting portraits. These works that above all else seem to convey the imprecision of life are well analyzed in four introductory essays. Next come more than 110 pages of plates drawn from the full decade that she was active, followed by a biography, exhibition history, and bibliography. This is the only work on Woodman in print and by far the most comprehensive ever published; it deserves a place in any serious photography collection. Though perhaps not a definitive study, Jacobson's book presents his work in the best possible light and belongs in collections with an interest in contemporary photography.--Eric Bryant, "Library Journal"
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781935202660
  • Publisher: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
  • Publication date: 3/31/2013
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 286,212
  • Product dimensions: 9.50 (w) x 10.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

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