Sunday, May 23, 2010
Francesca Woodman photographer from Colorado
Yet another artist whose existence I was previously unaware of. I love learning about new artists, photographers, actors and other historical figures. In fact, it is about my very favorite thing in life. I especially enjoy it if there is some sort of weirdness associated with them. Ms. Woodman is from right here in Colorado and went to Boulder HS. It was apparent that from an early age she was gifted in photography. She did a lot of self-portraits and I love this one with the hairy armpits. I am pretty sure it is her, although she did on occasion use models. What a sad waste to end her life at 22 years young. Read something about her parents (well known artists themselves) being stingy with releasing a lot of her work in their possession. That probably has something to do with the overwhelming grief they experienced about their daughter's suicide.
Francesca Woodman was born April 3, 1958, in Denver, Colorado, to well-known artists George Woodman and Betty Woodman. Her older brother Charles later became an associate professor of electronic art.
Woodman attended public school in Boulder, Colorado, between 1963 and 1971 except for second grade in Italy. She began high school in 1972 at the private Massachusetts boarding school Abbot Academy, where she began to develop her photographic skills. Abbot Academy merged with Phillips Academy in 1973; Woodman graduated from the public Boulder High School in 1975. Through 1975, she spent summers with her family in Italy.(p.154)
Beginning in 1975, Woodman attended the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in Providence, Rhode Island. She studied in Rome, Italy between 1977 and 1978 in an RISD honors program. As she spoke fluent Italian, she was able to befriend Italian intellectuals and artists.(pp.26-30,154) She went back to Rhode Island in late 1978 to graduate from RISD.(p.154)
Woodman moved to New York City in 1979. After spending summer 1979 in Stanwood, Washington, she returned to New York. There, "to make a career in photography" she sent portfolios of her work to fashion photographers, but "her solicitations did not lead anywhere."(p.155) In summer 1980 she was an artist-in-residence at the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, New Hampshire.(p.155)
In late 1980 Woodman became depressed due to her work and to a broken relationship. On January 19, 1981, she committed suicide by jumping out a loft window in New York.(p.155) An acquaintance wrote, "things had been bad, there had been therapy, things had gotten better, guard had been let down."