Girlfriends (Anita and Marie)
Girlfriends (Anita & Marie) is a photograph by Martine Gutierrez, which was shot at her grandmother’s cottage in upstate New York, where the artist spent many childhood summers. Two female figures occupy the central composition: the artist and a mannequin are both posed in the same position, lying on a lawn beside a typical metal suburban American fence. The figures are doppelgangers: physically alike and wearing similar dresses, one of which was actually made by the artist’s mother in the 1970s. Gutierrez painstakingly chooses the clothing, does the hair and makeup, and sets up photographic narrative tableau for her Girlfriends series, which is shot on location as well as in the studio with backdrops and fabricated sets. The series is concerned with the intimate female relationships as well as the ambivalent dynamics between the protagonists. In this aspect her work is reminiscent of that of Cindy Sherman’s oeuvre: a constructed, yet incomplete narrative that leaves much to the viewer’s imagination to project onto the characters. The notion of mirroring here also relates to the larger theme of the exhibition.