Nadine Boughton: The Modess Women
Nadine Boughton’s background is in photography, having studied at Visual Studies Workshop, Rochester, NY; Lesley University, Cambridge, MA; and with Garry Winogrand. In recent years her focus has been collage, appropriating vintage sources to reveal the psychology, politics and polarities of both mid-century and contemporary culture.
She was selected for the Photolucida Critical Mass “Top 50” in 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2016. Her work has been exhibited widely including UPI Gallery, Brooklyn, NY; Candela Books + Gallery, Richmond, VA; JoAnne Artman Gallery, Laguna Beach, CA; Newport Art Museum, Newport, RI; Griffin Museum of Photography, MA and GuatePhoto in Guatemala. She was an IRIS lecturer at The Annenberg Space for Photography, Los Angeles, CA. Her work is represented by Trident Gallery, Gloucester, MA and is collected internationally.
Nadine grew up in Rochester, NY under the shadow of George Eastman’s Kodak Tower. She currently lives and works in Gloucester, MA.
The Modess Women
Women draped in haute couture and posed in aristocratic settings were the face of a wildly successful ad campaign that peaked in 1950’s magazines. The product was Modess sanitary napkins, with the popular by-line, “Modess…because.” These images of women were as far away from the body and bleeding as possible, in a word, “sanitized.” This collage series is meant to reclaim women’s bodies especially in these politically charged times when women’s rights are challenged, and ownership of one’s body is up for “grabs.”
My first impulse with the Modess women was to take them to the woods. I placed them on the earth and in caves, incorporated symbols long associated with the feminine – the egg, moon, shell. Art-making for me is a ritual of transformation. In this series I wanted to release shame in the body and bow to the power of the female body as transformer. The unexpected gift in this process was rediscovering the power of elegance, the power in the way women held yin energy in the body. So the work also became an honoring of what was powerful in that time and some of what we’ve lost.
I watch the new marketing of feminine products and portrayal of women in advertising with interest. Now, millennials employ the archetype of the female warrior, calling upon strength, fight, blood. The pendulum swings.
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