Sarah Charlesworth, a fine-art photographer, teacher and member of The Pictures Generation, died on June 26 in Falls Village, Connecticut, of a cerebral hemorrhage. She was 66 years old.
Charlesworth was born in East Orange, New Jersey, and graduated from Barnard College in 1969 with a Bachelor of Arts in art history. She cofounded the nonprofit art magazine BOMB in 1981, and her work was featured on the cover of its launch issue. She began teaching art and photography in 1983, and has regularly instructed classes at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, Rhode Island School of Design and New York University. Recently, she was appointed a lecturer at Princeton University.
The Baldwin Gallery in Aspen, Colorado, along with the Susan Inglett Gallery in New York City and the Margo Leavin Gallery in Los Angeles, represented Charlesworth in the United States; the Galerie Tanit represented her in Munich. In her current solo show, “Available Light,” which opened at the Baldwin Gallery on June 21, Charlesworth used the sunlight from her studio window and objects, like a crystal ball, a bowl and prisms, to add an element of mystery and illusion to her conceptual, still-life photographs.
Kiki Jai Raj, an associate from the Baldwin Gallery, wrote in an e-mail: “[Charlesworth’s] work, has always embodied, for me, a formal elegance that for all its austerity illuminated the spiritual edge of the great beauty and purity of the scientific properties of light and form in our universe.”
In an Arts & Culture article published in 1999, the Boston Herald noted that Charlesworth’s images “challenge the mind and seduce the eye at the same time.” Her work has appeared in numerous solo and group exhibitions at many notable institutions including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and the Whitney Museum of Arts.
Charlesworth is survived by Lucy Poe and Nick Poe, her two children with filmmaker Amos Poe.