Carrie Mae Weems is the third artist featured in our blog series. This photograph comes from her Kitchen Table Series, which explores the dynamics of relationships in the domestic setting of her kitchen. Weems’s work is in part autobiographical and in part fictional: each photograph includes a self portrait of the artist interacting with models who pose as friends, a partner, and a daughter.
This photograph showing Weems and her “daughter” applying lipstick can be found in Museums Collections. The daughter uses the same materials as her mother perhaps implying that Weems’ action is didactic. It is unclear whether the scene is early morning or late evening, but in either case the duo is committing time to one another and to the learning process occurring at their kitchen table. While the action may seem mundane, Weems is commenting on larger themes of femininity, traditional family roles and motherhood. For innovating artistic self-expression and exploring the intersections of race, gender, and power in relationships, Weems has become one of the most influential American contemporary artists.
–AnnaLivia McCarthy is an undergraduate intern at Museums.