Nancy Grace Horton: Ms. Behavior and Mad Women
Nancy Grace Horton is having a good year. She recently received Honorable Mention in the Griffin Museum’s 19th Juried Exhibition juried by Kathy Ryan, photo editor of the New York Times Magazine. Nancy also was awarded the Artist Entrepeneurial Grant for 2013 by the New Hamshire State Council on the Arts, and was recently featured in the exhibition, Portraits in Contemporary Photography at the Drift Gallery at The Wentworth-Coolidge Center for the Art. There is a reason for this success–Nancy brings intimacy, humor, self awareness, and a delicious color palette to her projects
Nancy holds an MFA in Visual Arts from the Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University and has been working as a freelance photographer and educator for over 20 years. She is the recipient of numerous grants and awards, most recently an Artists Entrepreneurial Grant from the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts, where she is also an Arts in Education Rostered Artist. Her work has been exhibited at The Danforth Museum, Worcester Art Museum and the Marshall Store Gallery.
Recently her photographs were featured at the New York Photo Fest, the Griffin Museum of Photography’s 18th and 19th Juried Exhibitions, and a two-person show at the Photographic Resource Center in Boston. As the artist featured for the Portsmouth, New Hampshire Library Artist Curated Book Display, she exhibited, a hand made book entitled “Mad Women”, part of her newest series of work.She lives between Maine and New Hampshire and takes yearly visits to rural Mexico where she creates photo-based cultural exchange projects for kids. She is known locally for her popular photo book “Portsmouth”.
My photographs are investigations of female gender roles as influenced by American culture and mass media. This body of work is a 21st century extension of feminist concerns regarding the media’s portrayal of women. More specifically, I am interested in the explicit and implicit power relations that are constructed and maintained by mediatized systems of representation.
Using narrative fragments that confound the conventions of popular culture, I explore the norms of female behavior—and misbehavior. I am inspired by cinema, TV, magazines and personal experiences. My creative process is planned but unscripted. It is exploratory, but with firm goals and boundaries. Props, models (who are often friends), and locations act as catalysts for the development of strong, graphic compositions that suggest fragments of an untold story.
I intend my work to confront the viewer with their hidden preconceptions with regard to women’s constructed roles within society.
My project Mad Women is an open-ended visual narrative based loosely on the Betty Draper character from the “Mad Men” television series. This project is part of an on-going body of work in which I critique the way women are portrayed in the media. The HBO “Mad Men” series, for all it’s stylistic brilliance, perpetuates demeaning role models for women, and my work is both a visual and cultural response.
Though not an actual replica of the television character, my Betty is a response to the over-used portrayal of a women waiting for a man. My images are inspired by the visual richness of the “Mad Men” series, with its 1950s fashion sense and clean details.
After photographing, I began to sequence the images and various methods of expression unfolded, including bookmaking and video.