Girls On Film

AGNSW collection Cindy Sherman Untitled #113 1982
AGNSW collection Cindy Sherman Untitled #113 1982

About the author:
Clementine Barnes. Artist, beach-lover, cinephile, cyclist. My artistic practice investigates relationships between gender, space, high and low forms of art. I use various methods and materials to draw attention to gender-specific roles and rituals. Not surprisingly, this has influenced my Art Set!

The glance, the gaze.

AGNSW collection Tracey Moffatt Useless, 1974 1994
AGNSW collection Tracey Moffatt Useless, 1974 1994

The point of departure for this Art Set is one of Cindy Sherman's Untitled Film Stills, taken between 1977 and 1982. Sherman's various personas take their cues from the celluloid image, particularly B-grade movies and Film Noir. To what extent do you think the mediated image shapes and informs our perception of the female identity? Other works selected for my Art Set follow a similar theme, with some pre-dating the moving image such as the paintings by Gordon and Bijlert. Before movies, painting would have played a similar role in the definition of the feminine.

AGNSW collection Robert James Gordon La liseuse (the reader) circa 1877
AGNSW collection Robert James Gordon La liseuse (the reader) circa 1877
AGNSW collection Jan van Bijlert Girl with a flute circa 1630
AGNSW collection Jan van Bijlert Girl with a flute circa 1630
AGNSW collection Max Dupain Untitled (Nude in mirror) 1930s, printed later
AGNSW collection Max Dupain Untitled (Nude in mirror) 1930s, printed later

"What's a Nice Girl Like You Doing in a Place Like This?"*

A 1963 film directed by Martin Scorsese. You can watch it at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pWs1SM0xYiI.

Many Dutch 17th century paintings are allegorical. To set the scene, artists would use clothing and props to communicate a moral message. In the above painting by Van Bijlert, the woman is partially exposed, her song book lies open on her lap and she is clasping a flute in her right hand. The rose on the wallpaper behind her is in full bloom and her cheeks are flushed. This series of markers may allude to the woman's position, or standing. Can you think of an art form today that uses a similar visual strategy?

AGNSW collection Sir Eduardo Paolozzi 33. It's a psychological fact pleasure helps your disposition 1972
AGNSW collection Sir Eduardo Paolozzi 33. It's a psychological fact pleasure helps your disposition 1972
AGNSW collection Mervyn Bishop Photography cadets with model, Sydney Morning Herald 1967, printed 1991
AGNSW collection Mervyn Bishop Photography cadets with model, Sydney Morning Herald 1967, printed 1991