Another Woman Who Died in Her Sleep Greenberg Van Doren Gallery January 9 – February 16, 2008
Lady into Fox Salon 94 Freemans January 10 – February 23, 2008
In Another Woman Who Died in Her Sleep, San Francisco area-based photographer Katy Grannan depicts the same person, Nicole, in various Northwestern landscapes and interiors. Grannan worked with Nicole for almost three years and established a comfortable intimacy with her subject. Her pictures show a woman thriving on the opportunity to reinvent herself shot-by-shot. There is no naiveté here and Nicole, whose personality is unquestionably complex, is always aware of the camera’s presence. The ever-seductive model, she offers an array of dramatic poses, expressions, and, at times, costumes that display a self-conscious theatricality. Her sense of exhibitionistic nihilism conveys the impression of a woman not in full control. Though she might not be close to a nervous breakdown per se, Nicole appears to have seen her share of worldly abuse. The exceptional quality of Grannan’s works is based on her ability to capture this sentiment not through photographic documentation but by allowing her subject to play with and transform herself for the camera.
In most pictures, Nicole wields her sexuality with an aggressiveness implying self-mockery and even self-hatred, rather than self-confidence: half dressed, breast exposed, arms hidden behind her back, her shirt cutting into her flesh. Her orange-blond hair, the exaggerated whiteness of her skin, almost translucent in the bright California sun, and cherry-red lips feed into a stereotype that is as much “white trash” as it Hollywood glam. Yet, these features magnify her overall vulnerability, making her seem as fragile as a rape victim. She appears in a tight red bodysuit, her legs bare, sprawling on a cement parking lot; nude on a beach; pregnant, or later, postpartum in a hospital bed, holding her newborn child Star with an expression of introspection and defeat. Throughout the series Grannan’s photographs are far from erotic. Instead, they capture the true nakedness of a conflicted soul. This exposure of a woman’s frailty can be at times hard to take, though it is the most intriguing, and perplexing, aspect of this body of work. Nothing horrific is shown, and nothing is revealed about Nicole’s life during these three years beyond the birth of her child. Why do these obviously staged scenarios seem so brutally honest and at times devastating?
Sure, Grannan’s photographs are intimate in the sense that they capture the sitter in intimate circumstances. However, with each frame, Nicole seems more obscure. In fact, the depictions of her are so varied that at first one is surprised to learn that they all portray the same individual. Rather than capturing various nuances of Nicole’s personality, Grannan collects different versions of Nicole as staged by Nicole. The photographs reflect the theater that unfolded before the camera, not Nicole’s inner life. With each scenario, Nicole slips further away from our grasp. Nevertheless, it is through the variability of Grannan’s pictures that lures us in and even sparks our compassion.
In Lady into Fox, another series concurrently on display at Salon 94, Grannan focuses on Gail and Dale, two middle-aged transsexuals, who are also best friends, portraying them individually and as a pair. The world of Gail and Dale seems less harsh than Nicole’s. Romantic escapism suffuses these portraits, depicting their subjects in long dresses and long flowing hair amidst the sandy dunes of Northern California, or in their bedroom, dreamily gazing into the distance. Despite the obvious difficulties that Gail and Dale have endured as members of a sexual minority, Grannan’s photographs portray two men at peace with themselves and their surroundings, where they have created their own unique refuge. It does help that they have each other to share their experiences, whereas Nicole is on her own (except for the one instance where she holds her baby, perhaps the only person in her life who needs protection more than she does).
All three of Grannan’s subjects are living the American dream of reinvention. They share an awareness that being photographed and documented means to be visible and re-confirmed, and Grannan tells their very different tales with sophistication and decisiveness.
Nicole StormBy Bryan Martin
OCT 2021 | ArtSeen
Nicole Storms first solo show in New York is an exuberant installation of heavily worked surfaces that combines abstract color painting and calligraphic line drawing. Occupying half of White Columns gallery, the exhibition presents a multicolored collection of two-dimensional and sculptural mixed media works with recurring visual elements.
Nicole Eisenman and Keith BoadweeBy Maddie Klett
MARCH 2021 | ArtSeen
Nicole Eisenman and Keith Boadwee is an unexpected pairing and exhibition format. There is a lot of work on view. As a result, there are many opportunities to find both affinities and issues with whats therea quality that straddles both artists practices and that recalls the troubling, yet self-aware, late figurative work of Philip Guston.
Nicole Krausss To Be a ManBy Carissa Chesanek
MAY 2021 | Books
Nicole Krausss latest book, To Be a Man, is the authors very first short story collection. As the title suggests, each story incorporates an awareness of masculinity and all its power, while relating to the roles of women. But the collection isnt merely about driving one gender against the other. Theres much more to it than that. Each story provides a sense of connection between real people and their everyday lives, much like the authors former books, including the William Saroyan International Prize Winner, The History of Love.
Nicole Eisenman: Untitled (Show)By Ksenia Soboleva
JUL-AUG 2022 | ArtSeen
Last month, Eisenman opened Untitled (Show) featuring a total of twelve paintings and seven sculptures spread across two floors. The expansive room on the fifth floor presents a series of ten (mostly) large canvases depicting a range of subject matter.