Gathering Paradise

Sandy Skoglund (born September 11, 1946) is an American photographer and installation artist.Skoglund creates surrealist images by building elaborate sets or tableaux, furnishing them with carefully selected colored furniture and other objects, a process of which takes her months to complete. Finally, she photographs the set, complete with actors. The works are characterized by an overwhelming amount of one object and either bright, contrasting colors or a monochromatic color scheme.Skoglund was born in Weymouth, Massachusetts in 1946. She spent her childhood all over the country including the states Maine, Connecticut, and California. She studied both art history and studio art at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, graduating in 1968. In 1967, she studied art history through her college's study abroad program at the Sorbonne and École du Louvre in Paris, France. After graduating in 1969, she went to graduate school at the University of Iowa, where she studied filmmaking, multimedia art, and printmaking. In 1971, she earned her Master of Arts and in 1972 a Master of Fine Arts in painting.In 1972, Skoglund began working as a conceptual artist in New York City. She became interested in teaching herself photography to document her artistic endeavors, and experimenting with themes of repetition. She was interested in dealing with repetitive, process-oriented art production through the techniques of mark-making and photocopying. In 1978, she had produced a series of repetitious food item still life images. Skoglund's works are quirky and idiosyncratic, and as former photography critic for The New York Times Andy Grundberg describes, they "evoke adult fears in a playful, childlike context".One of her most-known works, entitled Radioactive Cats, features green-painted clay cats running amok in a gray kitchen. An older man sits in a chair with his back facing the camera while his elderly wife looks into a refrigerator that is the same color as the walls. Her 1990 work, "Fox Games has a similar feel to Radioactive Cats";it unleashes the imagination of the viewer is allowed to roam freely. A third and final oft-recognized piece by her features numerous fish hovering above people in bed late at night and is called Revenge of the Goldfish. The piece was used as cover art for the Inspiral Carpets album of the same name.Skoglund was an art professor at the University of Hartford between 1973 and 1976. She is currently teaching photography and art installation/multimedia at Rutgers University in New Jersey.In 2008, Skoglund completed a series titled "True Fiction Two". This project is similar to the "True Fiction" series that she began in 1986. This series was not completed due to the discontinuation of materials that Skoglund was using. Kodak canceled the production of the dye that Skoglund was using for her prints. Each image in "True Fiction Two" has been meticulously crafted to assimilate the visual and photographic possibilities now available in digital processes.Her works are held in numerous museum collections including the Museum of Contemporary Photography, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Dayton Art Institute.Skoglund holds a faculty position at the Department of Arts, Culture and Media of University of Rutgers–Newark in Newark, New Jersey.

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