Sharon Core’s carefully constructed images examine the relationship between illusion and reality within photography. From Early American (2007-2010), painstaking photographic recreations of the still lifes of 19th century American painter Raphaelle Peale, to her most recent series, Understory (2014-2016), inspired by the work of 17th century Dutch painter Otto Marseus van Schriek, for which she cultivated and photographed a rich array of plant life, Core problematizes our understanding of photography as a simple truth-telling medium.
In Early American the viewer is presented with still lifes of an assortment of objects, including flowers, fish, fruit, and antique crockery. Core replicated Peale’s use of lighting, subject matter, and composition, even growing from heirloom seeds varieties of fruits and vegetables in existence in the early 19th century. Through these efforts, Core attempts to mirror Peal’s meticulous painting process, while simultaneously acknowledging the temporal, contextual and technological rifts between the photographs and their reference materials. Similarly, for Understory, Core maintains her commitment to authenticity in the materials she photographs, creating a living studio from a large geodesic dome in which she grew the plant life featured in the photographs. Thus, her work is not entirely fictional, but can be seen instead as an extension of reality, in which the lines between the natural and artificial are blurred.
Born in New Orleans in 1965, Sharon Core lives and works in Esopus, New York. She received her BFA in painting from the University of Georgia in 1987, and her MFA in photography from Yale University School of Art in 1998. Core was the recipient of the George Sakier Memorial Prize for Excellence in Photography at the Yale School of Art in 1998 and she won the Rema Hort Mann Foundation Art Grant in 2000.
Since 1998, her work has been exhibited in the United States and abroad, including George Eastman House, Rochester; Grand Palais, Paris; Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena; Gallery Hyundai, Seoul; White Columns, New York; James Kelly Contemporary, Santa Fe; and the Hermes Foundation Gallery, New York. Her work is included in major public collections such as The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; Guggenheim, New York; The Zabludowicz Collection, London; Yale University Art Gallery; Princeton University Museum of Art; the Lannan Foundation, Santa Fe; Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth; the West Collection, Philadelphia; National Museum of Women in the Arts (Washington, D.C.); the Amon Carter Museum of American Art (Fort Worth, TX); the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles); MoCA Shanghai and the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao.