Our next Artist You Need To Know has described her stunning, sometimes overwhelming images as not necessarily “a reflection of our times. But I know what my work is, it is to be the mirror, to be passive, to receive, participate as much as possible without judging.”
Sandy Skoglund is a photographer and installation artist. The scenes she creates are a contemporary surrealist tableaux: their bright and intense colours are immediately recognizable, but the details and the uncanny nature of the images are just as engaging.
Animals and human ‘players’ populate her world (and sometimes other, more unsettling characters, too). Often building her characters with meticulous skill (as her neon green cats, in a work we share below, Radioactive Cats, were delicately brought to life in chicken wire and plaster), she has also used less ‘traditional’ components, like bacon, cheese puffs and popcorn.
Skoglund studied at Sorbonne and Ecole du Louvre in Paris, as well as the University of Iowa. Her work is in numerous museum collections, including the Museum of Contemporary Photography (Chicago), the SFMOMA San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Montclair Art Museum and the The Dayton Art Institute.
In 2000, the Galerie Guy Bärtschi in Geneva, Switzerland mounted an informal ‘retrospective’ of Skoglund, featuring works that spanned three decades. This overview – as critic Richard Leydier offered, in reviewing this show – illustrated how Skoglund’s art offers ‘interpretations of all kinds, whether feminist, sociological, psychoanalytical’ or something more specific to the visitor. Skoglund is seemingly uninterested in these questions, responding with “What is the meaning of my work? For me, it’s really in doing it.”
Currently, she’s a faculty member, teaching at the Department of Arts, Culture and Media of University of Rutgers–Newark in Newark, New Jersey. More of Skoglund’s work can be seen at her site, but there’s also an extensive archive of her work at Paci contemporary’s site, too.