Sharon Core explores the boundaries between photography and painting through beautiful images that question the viewer’s assumptions about both mediums. The artist was born in 1965 in New Orleans, Louisiana, and originally trained as a painter, receiving her BFA from the University of Georgia in 1987. She went on to earn her MFA in photography from Yale University.
Core first attracted major critical acclaim for her Thiebaud series (2003–2004), in which she produced photographic simulations of the iconic images of cakes, hot dogs, and sandwiches created by 1960s California artist Wayne Thiebaud. Core continued in this vein in her series Early American (2007–2008), this time replicating the nineteenth-century still life paintings of American artist Raphaelle Peale. To create exact photographic renderings of the paintings, Core collected genuine period tableware and grew the fruit and flowers in her own greenhouse.
In regards to this meticulous process, she commented,
“It’s really a means to an end—to create an illusive representation of another time. The photographs are completely traditional, involving no digital media whatsoever, so I am staging the ‘reality’ of an early-19th-century painting in terms of lighting, subject matter and scale. . . . I go to great pains to come at the image from another direction—to mirror it, so to speak.”
In 2012 Lannan Foundation provided support for the publication of Core’s first monograph, Early American, published by Radius Books. Four pieces from Core’s Early American series were included in Lannan’s 2017 exhibition Something Fierce. Her most recent series is called Understory (2014–2016) and was inspired by the work of seventeenth-century Dutch painter Otto Marseus van Schriek, whose luscious still lifes of plants and insects were created in the sottobosco style (Italian for “undergrowth”).
Core’s work has been included in the Armory Show, New York (2005); the Guggenheim Foundation’s Art in America: 300 Years of Innovation at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Shanghai (2007); and Paris Photo at Carrousel du Louvre (2008). She has had solo shows at White Columns, New York (2000); Bellwether Gallery, Brooklyn (2004); and Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York (2008). She was awarded the Rema Hort Mann Foundation Grant in 2000 and currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.