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Monday, April 06, 2015

Nancy Good, Photography: A Collage Made of Secrets

Dr. Laura Henkel,
Contributing Writer

“A photograph is a secret about a secret. The more it tells you the less you know.”
Diane Arbus (1923-1971)

Renown for her mosaic like compositions that suggest metamorphism, hybridity, and transformation, Nancy Good’s striking work addresses thematics such as landscape, identity, as well as ideas of purification, gender, beauty, and concealment.

Good uses images of masks, and portraiture as a means of telling a story and like the contemporary photographer Cindy Sherman, Good is her own primary model, and the result is enigmatic, suggesting disguise, secrecy, façade, and veiling. Of this essence Good says: “The unseen (shadow) is as crucial as the visible, and quite often far more powerful.”

Good’s newest series of multi-media works are intricately assembled from photography, digital techniques, including postproduction digital manipulation, with striking additions of paint and ink. The titles as well call to mind inner struggles, and as such are deeply emotive. Works like Draped in Unmasked Secrets of Masked Thoughts (2014) use the combination of natural texture − earthy sand, stone and wood surface, juxtaposed with the ominous patterned skin of a snake, human eyes staring out, echoing a sense of entrapment.

Yet, like most of Good’s work this picture is not easily interpreted, for the serpent can also refer to fertility and feminine power. Similarly, Emerging from Palette Strokes of My Own Doing (2014) is a haunting and perplexing picture. There is a cracked surface encasing a woman, the bright colors are refracting against what seems like a forest scene, reminding one of the transformative Greek myth of Daphne who finds herself turned to a tree. Good’s piercing eyes make the work at once compelling and ethereal, teaching us about the power of hidden and multifaceted symbolism.

The idea of masks and identity is taken further in her series eARThen (2014-15) a group of images showing her visage shot in contrast light, echoing the famous Richard Avedon photos of the West. Good has adorned her face in clay, reflecting on her relationship to the natural landscape and the idea of purification, and models of womanly beauty, particularly the often-exhausting extent of beauty rituals and models of perfection.

Good has been honored with solo exhibition at The Contemporary Arts Center, Las Vegas; The Gallery @ 417 Union, Nashville; The Gallery@theatre7, Las Vegas; Tepoca Artists Group; Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, as well as the Nashville International Airport among many others.

She has also participated in numerous group exhibits, a selection of which includes Las Vegas City Hall (2014-2014); The Charleston Heights Arts Center, Las Vegas (2014); The Mayor's Gallery, Historic Fifth Street School, Las Vegas (2014); Charleston Heights Arts Center, Las Vegas (2013/ 2014); The Nevada Arts Commission and the Goldwell Open Air Museum.

Good is the recipient of various awards including Best in Show and the Inspire Award, Juried Exhibition, Think & Wonder, Inc. Las Vegas (2014); Nevada Arts Commission, Las Vegas, The Office of Cultural Affairs (2014); and from the Professional Women Photographers Spring 2013 Competition, New York. In addition to expansive commercial success, the artist’s work has been featured in a wide array of print publications including Nevada Magazine and the book Life Cube (2014). As well, Good leads workshops and teaches photography and is a member of the Las Vegas Photography Collective. Good lives and works in her ateliers in Southern California and Nevada.

THE UNMASKING | March 5 - May 14, 2014
Closing Reception and Artist Talk | May 14, 2014 @ 6:30 PM

R. Cline Arts
8 E. Charleston Boulevard, Las Vegas, Nevada 89103

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