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Mannering a Master

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Sharon Core plumbs iconic food paintings for color and textural insights

Courtesy of Bellwether Gallery

There is a long tradition of artists paying mimetic homage to their predecessors. Sharon Core continues this tradition by reinterpreting this mannerist approach and creating a stunning body of work based on Bay Area artist Wayne Thiebaud’s early food paintings.

Upon entering the gallery, you are surrounded by pies, hot dogs, cold cuts, and cakes shimmering in rich and luscious colors. Core has constructed still life compositions based in detail and scale on Thiebaud’s paintings. Each of Core’s photographs conveys all the attributes of painterly lusciousness and coffee counter colors associated with Thiebaud. The effect is both joyful and hunger inducing.

Core, through her elaborate endeavor to set the scene, has culled all the appealing attributes of “painterly representa­tion,” yet she does this with a medium often associated with an emotionally removed photographer’s eye.

Unlike Andreas Gursky, who creates an abstraction of reality, Core builds her pieces like a sculptor. Rather than radically altered interpretation, like Vik Muniz rendering a Jackson Pollock with chocolate syrup, Core stays true to the source while allowing her own voice to come through. With a slather of cake frosting or a dramatic trompe l’oeil shadow, she reinforces the flatness associated with Thiebaud’s work.

These photographs use Thiebaud’s strongest language while employing Core’s own visual vocabulary.

Earlier Core works hanging in the back room show a series of portraits of her inebriated friends. Unlike Nan Goldin’s parade of drunken and drugged friends, Core’s drunks are stunningly depicted in close up headshots. Like Chuck Close’s big heads, the feeling is confrontational and the inebriation more candid than the documentary approach of Goldin.

Core is a young artist whose efforts have produced a strong body of work that stands on the shoulders of the giants who preceded her. Through her endeavors she has established her own voice and vision.

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Updated 5:17 pm, July 20, 2018
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