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Untitled #46 (hide)

Photo Credit: Rich Sanders, Des Moines

Untitled #46 (hide)

Artist: Anna Gaskell (American, born 1969)
Date: 1998
Medium: C-print
Dimensions:
Panel: 60 × 50 in. (152.4 × 127 cm.)
Credit Line: Des Moines Art Center; Paul and Anastasia Polydoran Collection, 2001.25
Accession number: 2001.25
Classification: photograph
Label TextGaskell is best known for her large-scale color photographs of young girls in a variety of psychologically charged situations. Her images from the wonder, override, and hide series of the late 1990s borrow from numerous literary sources, such as The Adventures of Baron Munchausen and The Turn of the Screw, to present elusive narratives. Gaskell enhances the theatrical and artificial character of these photographs by using techniques often associated with film: manipulation of the viewer's pint of view, exaggerated cropping or lighting, and altering depth of field. These approaches help present the young girls as both innocent and sinister. Something is happening in these images, but the viewer is at a loss to explain what. However, the viewer can perceive a decidedly feminine point of view. In Gaskell's omaginative narratives, young girls search for their identities through social constructs or through a world of boundless freedom. Source: DMAC NEWS January February 2002
Gaskell creates staged photographs that explore surreal and dark themes of childhood. Because her photographs are often part of a larger series, they resemble film stills or scenes from a larger narrative. Her art is influenced by movies and literature, particularly stories that feature girls as protagonists or villains such as Alice in Wonderland, The Bad Seed, and The Turn of the Screw. This work comes from the series hide, which is loosely based on the Brothers Grimm tale “The Magic Donkey”. It features young girls acting out a strange drama in a dark, Gothic mansion (actually Des Moines’ Salisbury House). Although this photo features only one girl, her awkward predicament implies the presence of someone else. The camera peers up the stairs, as though the viewer has just stumbled upon the scene, or is backing away from it. Because the girl’s face is not visible, the focus falls to her eerily raised hand and the disheveled state of her clothing. Gaskell’s nightmarish and often darkly humorous images can be seen as metaphors for the limitations and expectations placed on young women.
SignedA Gaskell (u,l verso)
Inscription1998 3/3 (u,l verso)
Portfolio/Serieshide
Published References"Dead and Delight: Fairy Tales in an Anxious World," Emily Stamey, University Press of Colorado, Louisville, Colorado, 2018, p.72, fig.2
Edition3/3
entirely unexpected