Books

Hardcover
10 x 12 inches
112 pages
65 color illustrations
$50.00

Preorder (Release in Late 2021)

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Lydia Panas: Sleeping Beauty

Text by Marina Chao, Maggie Jones, Monae Mallory

The mesmerizing color portraits of women and girls in Lydia Panas' much-praised series Sleeping Beauty explore how difficult it feels to be a girl and a woman, subject to another's dominance. Her subjects are lying down or half-reclined in fecund natural settings, a metaphor for the position girls and women have been placed in historically. Yet, the women and girls she photographed look at the camera and thus the viewer directly, with self-awareness. Through Panas' lens, their inescapable gazes signal the knowledge that they have been to some extent duped, one might say, and a sense that they are working to counter the stereotypical boxes they have been forced into. These girls and women look at us in a way that implies a lack of complicity.

Sleeping Beauty embodies Panas' complex relationship with portraiture. Her work is rooted in experience, what she sees, and how she understands people, relationships and power dynamics. Commingling their traditional roles, the artist's gaze and the models' are intertwined in these portraits, incorporating the viewer as participant in an often uncomfortable connection. Critics and curators have praised her artistic and technical mastery and have noted the powerfully affecting gaze of her subjects. Panas has remarked, 'while my subjects do in actuality turn their gaze towards me, it's as if at times I turn the camera onto myself, both in the present and back in time.' The traditional position of power is foiled and complicated in these arresting and quietly confrontational portraits.

About the Authors

Lydia Panas is a visual artist working in photography and video. Drawing on a combination of psychoanalysis and feminism, her work looks at identity and what lies below the surface, investigating questions of who we are and what we want to become. Exploring the roles of power and trust on both sides of the camera, she describes what it feels like to be a woman, a human, and the complex range of emotions we feel. Panas' work has been exhibited widely in the U.S. and internationally. Her photographs are represented in public and private collections including the Brooklyn Museum, Bronx Museum, Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Palm Springs Art Museum, Allentown Art Museum, Museum of Contemporary Photography Chicago, Museum of Photographic Arts San Diego, and the Sheldon Museum, among others. Two monographs of her earlier work have been published: Falling from Grace (Conveyor Arts, 2016) and The Mark of Abel (Kehrer Verlag, 2012), which was named a "best coffee table book" by the Daily Beast.

Marina Chao is a partner at Higher Pictures Generation in Brooklyn. She was previously assistant curator at the International Center of Photography where she organized the exhibition Multiply, Identify, Her (2018) and contributed to the publication Public, Private, Secret: On Photography and the Configuration of Self (Aperture and ICP, 2018). She was awarded a 2019 Curatorial Fellowship from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts for a project exploring the intersections between image, language, and technology. Prior to joining ICP, she was a curatorial assistant at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Maggie Jones is a contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine, where she writes about subjects ranging from death rituals to sex, from forensic anthropology to gender and families. She has been a finalist for a National Magazine Award and she was awarded a 2012 Neiman Fellowship at Harvard University. She teaches writing at the University of Pittsburgh.

Monae Mallory is a poet, hairstylist, and makeup artist. A business owner by day and poet by night, she studied cosmetology and fashion design. Born in Baltimore, MD she now lives in Bethlehem, PA, where she owns and runs Artistry By Monae.

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