SOLO EXHIBITION: Carrie Schneider's Reading Women
It is pouring outside. Given that it is summer, and a national holiday to boot, I would bet money that there are many, many of my female readers snuggled up with a good book. Seems to me that it is a perfect day to share artist Carrie Schneider's collection of portraits of women reading. The series has a poignant simplicity in our world of electronic gadgetry (no Kindles in sight).
Carrie sought out 70 of her creative friends mostly in the fields of art, music or writing. She asked them to allow her to photograph and video tape them reading a beloved book by a female author of their choosing for a period of two hours. The images where shot in each reader's own home, with the women choosing a favorite sofa, chair or other perch to rest as they cracked open the pages.
A look at the pictures suggest that Carrie became the proverbial fly on the wall. As time passed, the women became more and more absorbed in the written word, and all pretense of posing before cameras dropped away. A natural beauty, and sense of peaceful solitude shines through.
Equally intriguing is what works the women have chosen to read, revealed in Carrie's title for each piece. Viewing the photographs, one begins to wonder what motivated the reader to select her particular book and what does the selection say about each reader's personality and our world.
Further study of the photographs finds one trying to gain more insights into the readers' lives by analyzing their homes. Who pairs a "granny chair" with an Eames ottoman?
Suddenly one realizes there is much to be said about each portrait.
To cap off the series, Carrie even created her own book where Carrie photographed each woman's hands as she grasped the last page of the book she was reading at the conclusion of the shoot.
I discovered Carrie's work at last March's Armory Show, where I am shown reading Carrie's book surrounded by the kindred spirits represented in her photography.