Eleanor Macnair recreates art history using a material that's meant for children. Inspired by the images of renowned photographers like Cindy Sherman, Alfred Stieglitz, and Diane Arbus, the London-based artist reimagines their timeless works as 3D sculptures crafted with colorful Play-Doh.
When Macnair translates the source images into clay, it changes more than just their appearance–it completely alters the mood of the photographs. Somber black-and-white pictures become vibrant compositions and inevitably take on a more cheerful tone, even when the pieces do not call for it. In this way, Macnair explores–and extends–the emotional range of the original photographs, transforming them in ways never before imagined.
Taking a picture is often an instantaneous event, but Macnair's creations require an extended concentration. Each piece takes between three and four hours to complete, and they are only assembled long enough to be documented. Afterwards, the sculptures are taken apart in order to produce a new composition.
Macnair calls her ongoing project Photographs Rendered in Play-Doh, and it's now on view at Kleinschmidt Fine Photographs in Wiesbaden, Germany until April 22. In addition, her work will soon be shown at the Kopeikin Gallery in Los Angeles from March 18 to April 16 of this year.
Original photograph: Identical Twins, Roselle, N.J., 1967 by Diane Arbus
Original photograph: Untitled film still #21, 1978 by Cindy Sherman
Original photograph: Georgia O’Keeffe – Hands and Thimble, 1919 by Alfred Steiglitz
Original photograph: Portrait with Blue Hair, 2013 by Daniel Gordon
Original photograph: Kamaitachi #23, 1965 by Eikoh Hosoe
Original photograph: Tatiana Ryabushinskaya as Golden Cockerel, Ballet Russes, 1938 by Horst P. Horst
Original photograph: Escape Artist (Multicoloured), 2008 by Sam Taylor Johnson
Original photograph: Weeki Wachee Spring, 1947 by Toni Frissell
Original photograph: Eastern Madonna, 1935 by Walter Bird
Original photograph: Loretta Young, 1932 by Edward Steichen
Original photograph: Red Jackson, Harlem, 1948 by Gordon Parks
Original photograph: Eleanor, 1947 by Harry Callahan