Photo by Corbis

Photo by Corbis


INsight Artist, 2013

“Storytelling is fundamental to my work, a way to best express the human condition that has been a focus of my art from my earliest documentary photographic series.” —Carrie Mae Weems

Carrie Mae Weems uses photographs, text, fabric, audio, installation, and video to investigate family relationships, gender roles, the histories of racism, sexism, class, and various political systems. Her vibrant use of mixed media revitalizes traditional narrative forms of documentary, self-portraiture, and oral history, while debunking racist and sexist labels, examining the relationship between power and aesthetics, and using personal biography to articulate broader truths.

Shown at LOOK3: Lincoln, Lonnie and Me—A Story in 5 Parts, an 18-minute video installation made in the “Pepper’s Ghost” style popularized by 19th century theater. The work, projected onto a mock stage and framed in bright-red theater curtains, uses video projection, mirrors, and mylar panes to render life-size ethereal figures. These characters conjure the past and present, reminding us that history and gender roles are still being written.

Carrie Mae Weems’s work has appeared in major exhibitions at the Getty Museum, the Whitney Museum, the Williams College Museum of Art, and the Museum of Modern Art, among others. Awards include the Anonymous Was a Woman Award, the Skowhegan Medal for Photography, the Rome Prize Fellowship, and the Pollack-Krasner Foundation Grant in Photography. Born in Portland, Oregon in 1953, she earned a BFA from the California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, an MFA from the University of California, San Diego, and continued her studies in the Graduate Program in Folklore at the University of California, Berkeley.