I grew up in
Nevada, an environment of contradictions.
At home our familial bodies were objects of concealment, masses
of possible shame that we hid from ourselves and each other.
Our bodies - the flesh and substance of our beings were not open
for discussion or discovery, yet in public, especially the casinos where
we often dined, scantly clad bodies (mostly women) were familiar
territory, open to the public gaze.
Our parents did not acknowledge this contrast or help us
understand the mixed messages, hoping that the issues of nudity in
Nevada would be invisible.
I chose the
male nude as my subject matter in order to break apart my own
preconceptions and misgivings about the body.
It is an indulgent undertaking but worthwhile in that it is the
male body that is the most hidden.
Women have been taught to see themselves as something to be
viewed. As a result, they
have neglected their own claim to gazing at the male body.
Postures and Parts, the Male Nude consists of large-scale digital prints of the
male nude. Photos of my
husband and male friends are composed, manipulated, and enlarged in
Photoshop, and then printed using an Epson 2200 pigment ink printer.
The printed images are cut and mounted on 8”x8” or 10”x10”
frames. These components are
then reassembled along a grid format to suggest fragmentation and
mapping of the body surface- a visual encoding of the mind gazing over
hair, skin and fleshy mass.
The “gigantic men” seem to float between a layer of digital color and
oil glaze, thinly sliced within a framework and ultimately trapped under
a thin sheet of resin. The
largeness of scale and the layering of glazes and resin over the prints
result in a vista of pleasure, defamiliarizing body parts and
emphasizing contradictions to the idealized forms in Western culture.
There is an aspect of decoration in these pieces, a resulting
characteristic of the grid flattening visual space and the repetition of
color and value. The choices
in color relate intuitively to the terrain of Nevada –the contrast
between the flat chalky browns of the desert, the formations of mountain
ranges, and the bold neon pinks, yellows, and greens of Reno and Las
elements of digital technology that run through
Postures and Parts.
The constant grid suggests a relationship to digital encoding;
the squares equating to binary codes - small pixels of information that
can be easily converted and moved around.
Native Nevadan, Nicol has used the male figure, photographed and
digitally manipulated, as a means of formulating a response to her
experiences in Nevada’s often contradictory landscapes of desire.
Nicol’s work has been described as a fusion between printmaking,
painting, and digital photography.
As a result, Nicol’s multilayered compositions posit engaging
questions to viewers regarding relationships, social identities, and
societal issues surrounding the female gaze.
currently works as Director of Oxbow Press, Nevada and is a co-founder
of the Northern Nevada Printmakers’ Conspiracy.
She also teaches at Truckee Meadows Community College.
Her work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally
and occupies such prestigious permanent collections as the Boise Art
Museum, Corcoran College of Art and Design, Rutgers Center for
Innovative Print and Paper at Rutgers University, Southern Graphics
Council Archives, The Kinsey Institute, National Taiwan Museum of Fine
Arts, and Painting and Sculpture Museum Association, Istanbul, Turkey.
She has been awarded the distinguished Nevada Arts Council 2009
Artist Fellowship and is a Sierra Arts 2008 Artist Grant recipient.
She has also been awarded an honorable mention in Printmaking
review of fine art printmaking at the Dedalo Center for Contemporary
Art, and the Castle of Castiglione Museum, Abruzzo, Italy.
Postmodern Artwork by artist Candace Nicol