Sara VanDerBeek, Chorus, 2021
Sara VanDerBeek: Chorus
Nov 6 – Dec 18, 2021
Altman Siegel
San Francisco, USA

Altman Siegel is pleased to present Chorus, an exhibition of new work by Sara VanDerBeek, her fourth solo exhibition with the gallery. Using unique applications of color, cropping and combinatory actions, VanDerBeek adds to her ongoing investigation into the representation of the female form.

With this new work, VanDerBeek addresses complicated contemporary relationships to the body while exploring her ambivalence toward a gendered understanding of adornment and the ideals of female beauty proposed by these classical forms. Photographing within encyclopedic and historic museums over the last decade, VanDerBeek has collected a significant archive of images. Previous interventions into this archive focused on digital manipulation; including compositing and adding layers of saturated color. Now the artist returns to her earliest methods of image interpretation, applying hand coloration as she paints directly on the surface of her own photographs.

An installation of smaller works entitled Chorus provides an asynchronous glimpse into several thousand years of depictions of women. VanDerBeek’s cropping and sequencing relay a filmic working process proposing a non-linear timeline and study of form that revels in the unique human acts of representation across time and place.

Inspired by previous female practitioners of still and moving image, the works in this exhibition recall the closely framed portraits of Ruth Berhard and Imogen Cunningham, as well as the use of color and filmic transitions employed to great effect by Doris Chase, Shigeko Kubota and Carolee Schneemann. Taken as a whole, this chorus of women both ancient and contemporary, speaks to our collective history, and to the constantly evolving relationship of self and society.