Anatomy, references Robert Burton’s seventeenth century compendium, Anatomy of Melancholy. Her photographs depict nude subjects in lush, jewel-like color and poses that subtly suggest masterworks from the history of painting. According to Marder, “Women’s bodies hide as much as they reveal. I thought of Aphrodite, working single mothers, odalisques, adulterers and enigmas…The thought of how they got there was deeply troubling. My camera was a passport into a gray, hidden world; the result of a liberal society where free will is a question mark.”
According to Kaelen Wilson-Goldie writing for Artforum, “Marder’s subjects, who were paid 350 euros each to participate in the project, strike the familiar come-hither poses of a canned sexuality—sultry in #28 from the Anatomy Series, 2010, a vision of blonde ringlets and red lips, in soft focus behind translucent black drapes; shy in #9 from the Anatomy Series, 2009, in which a woman glances over her shoulder at Marder’s camera; and ecstatic in #25 from the Anatomy Series, 2010, featuring a woman in repose on a plush red couch, her head thrown back. Perhaps because the women sample so easily and crudely from a well-known vocabulary of gestures, they appear here somewhat awkward and sad, which underscores the fact that Marder is catching them in interludes, in the time between jobs, in settings that try (and therefore fail) to mimic spaces of real intimacy.”
At Rest, a 12-minute film, shows Marder’s friends, young and old, in fitful sleep and is accompanied by an ominous soundtrack of deep breathing. First shown in 2003 at Salon 94, the film was shot over the course of two years.
Malerie Marder was born in Philadelphia in 1971 and lives and works in Los Angeles. She studied photography with Stephen Shore at Bard College and received her MFA in photography from Yale University in 1998, achieving widespread recognition the following year after her participation in Another Girl, Another Planet, the landmark exhibition at Lawrence Rubin Greeenberg Van Doren, organized by Gregory Crewdson and Jeanne Greenberg. Since then Marder’s photographs have been exhibited in group and solo shows in galleries and museums in the US, Europe, and Australia, and are in the collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art, Washington; the Seattle Art Museum; the Hessel Museum of Art, Bard College; the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven and other institutions.