Studio Sunday: Carrie Mae Weems
Today’s studio Sunday feature is Carrie Mae Weems. Weems is known for her multimedia work that explores sociopolitical themes of race, class and gender. The artist believes in creating powerful narrative pieces that provoke thought and discussion among viewers.
In the above photograph, Weems’ studio looks both inviting and studious. While photography is perhaps the first thing that comes to mind in discussions of her practice, Weems works with a diverse array of media including video, audio, installation and textiles. In this photo, it appears as though Weems is taking some new photo prints out of shipping boxes.
The studio overall looks like a very work-conducive place where the artist does a lot of making and thinking. Weems’ art tends to err on the side of serious, and it’s easy to image that the artist views her practice with an equal level of pragmatism, working hard to create the perfect image or object. Behind her, in this photograph, larger works lean against the wall – it looks like a canvas stretcher with a very large photographic print in front of it, possibly works in-progress.
Amidst all the hard work, though, there appears to be a small Christmas tree in the corner. I like how it lends the studio a homey appeal. Given the artist’s regular use of photography, I wonder if there’s a darkroom somewhere else, perhaps down the hallway or nook that’s visible on the right side of the image.
Weems was born in Portland, Oregon, and studied art in California. Her background includes dance and political activism, both of which have informed her award-winning practice over the years.