ARTmonday: Mary Ellen Strom

Two years ago at the School of Museum of Fine Art’s annual holiday sale (now called Inside Out), my husband and I were mesmerized by a video installation by Mary Ellen Strom (the first one pictured below). It was a little pricey (after all, you’re buying actual video equipment), but we seriously considered the purchase. Strom, who teaches at the SMFA, is represented by one of my favorite galleries in Boston, the Judi Rotenberg Gallery.Strom’s work has been shown at MOCA, MOMA, and the ICA, as well as the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum.

The three images below were part of Strom’s 2005 solo show “The Nudes”, at the Judi Rotenberg Gallery, comprised of a series of video projections re-staging paintings of female nudes by well-known male artists, including Manet, Velasquez and Magritte. Strom’s installations feature contemporary women artists who are portrayed as subjects rather than objects.  The videos are staged with live models in meticulously produced settings, and videotaped with a high definition video camera. The nudes were installed as a series of individual video projections onto the gallery walls. The projections are the size of the original paintings.

Strom says of these works, “We can identify with the subjects and feel power and sexuality not passivity. We can be conscious of our act of viewing while allowing ourselves to experience pleasure, theirs and ours.”

StromNude2Nude No. 4, Andrea Hendrickson — 58″ x 48″, video projection, 2004

Strom Nude1Nude No. 3, Dillon Paul — 69″ x 48″, video projection, 2004

strom Hope Clark 4 Nude No. 2, Hope Clark — 48″ x 32″, video projection, 2004

A F T E R . . .

artwork_images_423788845_162510_maryellen-strom“The Surprised Nymph” by Edouard Manet, 1859-60

dillon ptg“Venus” by Diego Rodriguez de Silva Y Velazquez, 1649- 51

magritte“Bather Between Light and Darkness” by Rene Magritte, 1935

Author: StyleCarrot

Marni Elyse Katz is a design writer and editor who lives in Boston and Cape Cod with her husband, two sons, and a cat. She blogs about design at

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