Tracey Moffat

Tracey Moffat was born in Brisbane, Australia. She obtained her BA in Visual Communications from the Queensland College of Art in 1982, after which she moved to Sydney. Much of her work focuses around issues of race, childhood trauma, and the media.

Our course materials directs us to look at Moffat’s Being – Under the Sign of Scorpio (2005) series.  In this series she disguises herself as forty famous women (Marie Curie, Vivien Leigh, Catherine Deneuve, Georgia O’Keefe, Bjork, etc.), who were all born under the sign of Scorpio. She poses in front of a bedsheet in her bathroom, taking on the guise of each woman. She later added backgrounds using Photoshop.

Since I was born on November 12th and am also a Scorpio, I have been intrigued about what makes the Scorpio tick. It is such a powerful and intense sign: Scorpios can ‘cross over’ into dark worlds and come back unscathed. They are fearless and listen to no-one.

Tracey Moffat (Roslyn Oxley 9 Gallery)

The research and planning of each woman took a few weeks, but the actual shooting only lasted about two minutes according to Moffat. Her final images can be seen on the Roslyn Oxley 9 Gallery site and I do have to say that I prefer the versions sans the Photoshop backgrounds. To me they look too gaudy, artificial and contrived and take away the attention from the person Moffat is trying to be.

In this series Moffat does not reveal anything of herself to the viewer. The series is pure performance based art, rather like karoake, as her acting is not very good. However, it is a very ambitious task to photograph the diversity of these forty women that she chose. I particularly like the contact sheet presentations where the viewer is able to see the progression of the performance in the attempt to become the particular woman.

In my portraits I have tried to capture their spirit and likeness, but only “at a moment’s glance”. It is almost like the moment when you see a famous person in a restaurant. Everyone is craning their necks to get a glimpse, only to end up with a fleeting view of the back of the celebrity as they exit into the VIP room.

Tracey Moffat (Roslyn Oxley 9 Gallery)

Reference List

Tracey Moffatt (2005).  Under the Sign of Scorpio [online] Roslyn Oxley 9 Gallery. Available from: http://www.roslynoxley9.com.au/news/releases/2005/07/10/94/ [Accessed 30 October, 2015]

Tracey Moffatt (2005).  Under the Sign of Scorpio [online] Roslyn Oxley 9 Gallery. Available from: http://www.roslynoxley9.com.au/artists/26/Tracey_Moffatt/380/ [Accessed 30 October, 2015]

Bibliography

Bright, S. (2010). Auto Focus: The Self-Portrait in Contemporary Photography. London: Thames & Hudson

Tracey Moffat [online]. Guggenheim. Available from: http://www.guggenheim.org/new-york/collections/collection-online/artists/bios/5094/Tracey%20Moffatt [Accessed 30 October, 2015]

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