5 Fast Facts: Sharon Core

Blog Category:  Artist Spotlight
A full crystal sherry glass and plate mounded with raisins and iced cakes occupy the middle ground of a still-life photograph. Luscious green grapes sit in the left foreground, and greenery rises in the background. The image explicitly imitates18th-century, still-life paintings.

Impress your friends with five fast facts about Sharon Core, whose work is currently on view at NMWA in the collection galleries and in Super Natural.

"Color photograph of an object that looks like a stemless rose. Its petals are open and its pink color deepens along its slightly curled edges. The outermost petal peels away from the flower, its edges torn. The object sits on a pink background and casts a subtle shadow. "
Sharon Core, Single Rose, 1997; Chromogenic color print, 14 x 13 in.; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Gift of Heather and Tony Podesta Collection; © Sharon Core, Courtesy of the Artist and Yancey Richardson Gallery; Photo by Lee Stalsworth

1. Mystery Meat

Two photographs on view in Super Natural, Single Rose and Bouquet, incorporate flower petals made from meat—purportedly from pig ears.

2. Painterly Beginnings

Core studied painting at the University of Georgia and later earned an MFA in photography at Yale. Her works are inspired by or directly based on realistic paintings—such as those by 19th-century painter Raphaelle Peale.

Two nearly identical images depicting a full crystal sherry glass and plate mounded with raisins and iced cakes. The image on the left is a 2007 photograph by Sharon Core and the one on the right is a detailed 1818 oil painting.
Left: Sharon Core, Early American, Tea Cakes and Sherry, 2007; NMWA, Gift of the Heather and Tony Podesta Collection, Washington, D.C.; © Sharon Core, Courtesy of the artist and Yancey Richardson Gallery; Right: Raphaelle Peale, Still Life with Cake, 1818; The Metropolitan Museum of Art

3. Presidential Produce

By growing heirloom vegetables and flowers, Core says, “I see the garden as an extension of my studio.” In her series imitating still-lifes by Peale, Core obtained many plants from Monticello. Thomas Jefferson kept meticulous records of his garden crops and was a friend of Peale’s family.

4. A Piece of Cake?

Core also reimagined works by Wayne Thiebaud, involving baking, decorating, and arranging more than 200 brightly colored cakes and foods. Food styling was not a new skill for Core, who has also worked on shoots for a German food company, HoneyBaked Ham catalogues, and Martha Stewart Living.

5. Nature Morte

Carefully staging photographic still-lifes with home-grown flowers is not a common practice. Core says, “The paintings on which [my works] are modeled were painstakingly painted to appear as real as possible, so I go to great pains to come at the image from another direction—to mirror it.”

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