Photos, and so much more: Sandy Skoglund creates sculptures, visions, scenarios half way between reality and imagination, whose incredible purity started rumors that the artist was using Photoshop, which she promptly denied. “If I had created these images on the computer, their entire meaning would change. On the contrary, knowing that what we look at has really existed modifies our perception”. Her pictures portray complex sets, carefully prepared by the artist, who also personally creates the sculptures featured in the photographs, using plaster, polyester resin, or painted clay.
Born in Massachusetts, with an international art background, she discovered photography in the early ’70s, when she was in her twenties. Her first piece, Reflections on a Mobile Home, encouraged her to investigate the creative possibilities of her media of choice from a self-taught point of view, allowing her to refine her choices of color and framing. Sandy Skoglund became a household name in the early 80s thanks to Radioactive Cats, a gray, domestic kitchen environment dominated by 24 fluorescent cats – most of whom are looking towards the refrigerator – while the humans present, two elderly people photographed from behind, remain completely indifferent.With Revenge of the Goldfish, a turquoise bedroom filled with goldfish, the artist debuted internationally. The image was also used by the band Carpet, in 1992, for the cover of their album by the same name. There is more: Maybe Babies, with its 20 gray-blue or gray-pink babies, photographed in different and spontaneous movements, under the eye of an immobile observer behind a grate; Cocktail Party, an allegorical reproduction of a certain kind of reception, symbolically represented by overpriced cheese snacks, a non-food; and later works such as The Gray Foxes and Picnic on Wine. “I do not think that my work is directly related to surrealism. I believe, rather, that it is inspired by the complexity and contrasts that characterize the United States today.” Since 2004, the artist has been working on a series of four artificial landscapes, which represent the seasons and their emotional impact on humanity. A reminder of how things change, and yet remain the same, of the fragile balance uniting man and nature. In Fresh Hybrid, we see a spring-like landscape of an artificial post-organic world, which explores the ever-fainter boundaries between real and plausible, artificial and natural. Winter has been under construction since 2008. It is inspired by the idea that life itself can be suffocated by the winter frost. In 2010, the author worked on ceramic snowflakes, combining photographic images of eyes with handmade enamel sculptures. That is when her desire to master the latest digital techniques begun. In her journey towards the mastery of new skills, the artist has invented a program that allows her to design her pieces on the computer before moving on to the actual sculpting process. This clearly stretches and expands the amount of time needed to create an installation, in line with her philosophy of resisting the temptation of a quick snapshot, making her work move at the speed of a glacier. Her sculptures recall and evoke the theme of the snowflakes: each fragment of her work is carefully chosen in order to express the primordial human fear of depending on nature and, therefore, on others.