Born in 1946 in Massachusetts, Sandy Skoglund is a American installation artist and photographer. She graduated in 1968 from Smith College where she studied studio art, history and fine art. A year later, she went to University of Iowa, a graduate institute, where she learned printing, multimedia and filmmaking. In 1971 and 1972, she earned a Master of Arts and Master of Fine Arts, respectively. From here onwards, she started working in New York as a conceptual artist. However, she soon became fond of photography and so in 1978 as a first assignment for herself, she photographed food stuff.
Skoglund worked with food items against colorful and patterned backgrounds. It was her means to develop a universal language – without a doubt everyone eats. The intention to use food as a subject was to create a connection with the spectators of her work. Today in the world people are injecting various chemicals in to food items to give them a different appeal for example by using artificial colorings to stimulate the appearance of vegetables and fruits. In advertisements, photography is used as a tool to capture the enhancements of looks in something. For example oily coatings to give shine to food surfaces or usage of dimethicone to reproduce sweat on a chilled glass. This is why Skoglund had a fondness in studying and working with food since there is a plethora of options to re-create something.
Sandy Skoglund produces surrealist photographs by constructing intricate tableaux. She colors the set, places life size objects and subjects. This process for a single piece takes her months to finish. Once she is done staging the desired scene, she photographs it. Skoglund fulfils her artistic endeavors with photography and most importantly is able to document it – she is able to experiment with varying themes.
One of her renowned works include Radioactive Cats, which features clay cats painted green, running in rampage in a grey kitchen. In there, an old man is sitting on one of the chairs of a round table facing opposite the camera and a woman is looking inside a refrigerator. Another widely recognized installation photo is Fox Games. This piece is somewhat following a similar theme as the cats one. Another often recognized work by Skoglund is Revenge of the Goldfish, in which many fish are suspended above people positioned on bed late at night. The image was featured in the cover album of Inspiral Carpets, an alternative rock band.
Sandy Skoglund served as an art lecturer from 1973 to 1976 at the University of Hartford. Currently she is a professor of art multimedia/ installation and photography in New Jersey at Rutgers University.
In 2004, she complete True Fiction Two – a series that she started off with in 1986. It took so long because she faced problems with the unavailability of materials she began using in her pieces. Hence, she had to suit her work according to what was feasible and manageable.
Skoglund demonstrates a great ability to oppose reality to imagination. She mixes the artificial with the natural and this is the origin of her interest. She attracted to some artificial objects so much so that her life depends on them. Things like fragrant creams for skin, colorful and interesting fabrics and etc. For Sandy Skoglund, a world without artificial amplification is unthinkable. She believes that she is definitely not the only one doing this everyday in her life.
Her works have been displayed at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Dayton Art Institute and Museum of Contemporary Photography in Columbia.