Sharon Core b. 1965, New Orleans
Chromogenic print, face-mounted to acrylic
15 5/8 x 20 inches (39.7 x 50.8 cm)
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York Purchased with funds contributed by Lori Chemla, 2005
Sharon Core. Used by permission.
In her Thiebauds series (2003–05), Sharon Core (b. 1964, New Orleans) reverses the customary relationship between painting and photography: instead of making paintings from photographs, the artist constructs photographs from paintings. Each image in the series is a to-scale simulation of one of the iconic 1960s food paintings of Bay Area artist Wayne Thiebaud—paintings that themselves confound reality and representation by replicating cake frosting with the thick impasto of oil paint. Working from catalogue reproductions of the original canvases, Core painstakingly bakes and prepares the cakes, pies, candy, hot dogs, and other assorted treats, giving tangible form to what Thiebaud is said to have painted from memory. Through a mixture of frosting, sculpture, tromp-l'oeil painting, and manipulated lighting and camera angles, she faithfully reproduces Thiebaud's originals, capturing their colors, textures, shadows, and perspective. Core's images are not only as visually lush as Thiebaud's canvases, but they also raise a series of questions about the nature of mimesis and the boundary between reality and artifice.