Carrie Mae Weems: A Seat at the Table

© Carrie Mae Weems

The kitchen; the one space in a house that witnesses the emotional spectrum of a relationship – a range of intimate engagements and exasperating encounters. In 1990, American photographer, Carrie Mae Weems staged a series of scenes around her own kitchen table. It tells the story of a woman’s life in the intimacy of her kitchen, peeling back the “front of house” appearance that we all carry around with us and framing her vulnerability, indifference and solitude. The shots portray her role as a lover, a mother and a friend. The full series of 20 photographs, titled; The Kitchen Table Series renders the viewer a fly on the wall to a multitude of relationships.

There is power in the subjective narrative that each viewer pulls from these iconic images. We have layered them with a selection of musical reflections that express different moments of a woman’s strength, tenderness, solitude and vulnerability.

© Carrie Mae Weems. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.

“You’re here, I’m pleased
I really dig your company
Your style, your smile, your peace mentality…”

Jill.

© Carrie Mae Weems. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.
© Carrie Mae Weems. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.
© Carrie Mae Weems. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.

“It could all be so simple
But you’d rather make it hard
Loving you is like a battle
And we both end up with scars
Tell me, who I have to be
To get some reciprocity”

Lauryn.

© Carrie Mae Weems. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.
© Carrie Mae Weems. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.
© Carrie Mae Weems. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.

“Don’t touch my hair
When it’s the feelings I wear
Don’t touch my soul
When it’s the rhythm I know
Don’t touch my crown
They say the vision I’ve found”

Solange.

© Carrie Mae Weems. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.
© Carrie Mae Weems. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.
© Carrie Mae Weems. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.

“At 38, she was beginning to feel the fullness of her woman self”

© Carrie Mae Weems. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.
© Carrie Mae Weems. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.
© Carrie Mae Weems. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.

“This is how I look without makeup
And with no bra my ninny’s sag down low
My hair ain’t never hung down to my shoulders
And it might not grow
Ya’ never know”

Erykah.