Five Day Forecast

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My essay is on the piece "Five Day Forecast", 1991, second edition, by Lorna Simpson. The piece was originally done by Simpson in 1988 using a Polaroid camera. This second edition was done in 1991 and she shot with a large format 4 x 5 camera with silver gelatin print on paper. The size is 622 x 2464 mm. This essay is an analysis and interpretation of Five Day Forecast using methodology(1) as follows:

Description: pure description of the object without value, judgments, analysis, or interpretation. Analysis: determining what the features suggest and deciding why the artist. used such features to convey specific ideas. Interpretation: establishing the broader context for this type of art. Judgment: Judging a piece of work means giving it rank in relation to other. works and of course considering a very important aspect of the visual arts; its. originality.

The piece comprises five large scale black and white framed photographs aligned horizontally with fifteen black plaques with white engraving - five plaques, each centered above a photograph, and ten plaques aligned horizontally below the photograph. Each plaque has a single word engraved.

The five black and white photos are of a black women in a white shift that is wrinkled vertically due to the crossing of her arms and horizontally for which I will interpret later in this essay.  Her head and legs are cropped from the photograph. Her arms are crossed. She is facing the camera. Her neck doesn't appear to be twisted, therefore I assume that her face is oriented directly towards the camera.

The words engraved in the plaques above are from left to right, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. The words below engraved in the plaques below are from left to right:


The piece reproduction appears as if it is hung on the wall, perhaps an exhibit, because of the apparent shadows created by the frame, both at the horizontal portion at the top and bottom of the frame.

The photographs are similar but are different with subtle differences in the shift, such as the wrinkles and the neck line; subtle variance in posture, with Monday more relaxed and Friday being most  tense;  and more distinctive differences, such as the arms being crossed in different orientation, with Monday and Thursday having her left arm over her right arm, and Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, her right arm over her left.

There isn't any reference to a place or time or anything else for that matter, simply a black women in a plain white shift. 

The piece is typical of Simpson's work of the 1980's. It is composed in a grid style, which is a basic concept she uses composing all of her work. The primary formal quality is the combination of image and text in a repetitive fashion. This concept is Simpson's process through which meaning takes place. 

During this period, Simpson often used black women, incorporating cropping of the body, particularly the head. By cropping the head, personal identity is lost, which alludes to a broader theme of both gender and ethnicity, and identity. Her black and white photographs are cold and simple, yet elegant. The black and white photography, in of itself, denotes a darkness or bleakness.

The straight and firm posture with folded arms is the only action represented. This gives the feeling of defiance or distrust. 

The words under the photographs are pejorative in nature. Each word begins with mis and perhaps is a pun for miss, signifying gender, or perhaps subservience, as in addressing authority. The words above the photograph are days of the week, Monday through Friday which generally signifies the work week.

The plain and simple white shift in combination with the signification of a work week gives meaning to the white shift as work attire in a...
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