Here and Now
Pace/MacGill Gallery is pleased to present Nicholas Nixon: Here and Now. The exhibition is Nixon’s fourth solo show at the gallery and introduces a selection of recent photographs taken between 2010 and 2012. Nicholas Nixon: Here and Now will be on view January 11 – February 23, 2013, with an opening reception for the artist on Thursday, January 10 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm.
“[Nicholas Nixon] has taken on the hardest job of all—to convince us of the worth of our lives.” –Robert Adams Here and Now highlights Nicholas Nixon’s continued interest in the large format camera as a medium of expression. Taken throughout the United States and France over the course of one year, the exhibition features a series of 11 x 14 inch and 16 x 20 inch gelatin silver prints that explore birth, death, and human intimacy within the scope of the natural world.
Utilizing the great legibility of the analog negative, Nixon focuses on photography’s humanistic potential. Here and Now juxtaposes young mothers—whose babies gape at the camera’s lens—with wrinkled centenarians to depict the cycle of life, and examines the evolution of the body from its earliest stages to its latest with tenderness, respect, and a tangible sense of discovery.
Alongside images of newborns and the elderly, Here and Now presents a series of intimate self-portraits of Nixon and his wife, Bebe. Closely cropped and hardly generous, the Nixons fade into overlapping forms. Their wrinkled follicular skin and wiry grey hairs weave in and out of focus, and they merge into each other’s bodies like two timeworn mammals embracing. These macroscopic images celebrate the camera’s descriptive capabilities and candidly portray the physical effects of age, devotion, and cohabitation after thirty-nine years of marriage.
The exhibition, respecting the artist’s interest in the co-existence of all organic elements, also includes rich landscapes of wheat and flora that serve as a foil to Nixon’s fleshy nudes. Referencing the poetry of Whitman, Here and Now compares emotionally rich portraiture to the impassiveness of Mother Nature, and reminds the viewer that, unlike the body, nature will renew itself in perpetuity.
Humble and courageously sentimental, Here and Now suggests life’s interconnectedness. Nixon intentionally avoids a bleak notion of mortality by placing the human being safely within the continuum of the natural world and allows meaning to develop from the effortless interplay between images and viewer interpretation.
Nicholas Nixon (b. 1947, Detroit, Michigan) is the recipient of numerous awards, including two John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowships (1977, 1986); three National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship Grants in Photography (1976, 1980, 1987); a Massachusetts Council of the Arts “New Works” Grant (1982); a Friends of Photography Peer Award (1988); and a George Gund Foundation Fellowship (2000). Nixon’s photography has been the subject of exhibitions in the United States and abroad, including The Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. His work can be found in museum collections worldwide, including the Art Institute of Chicago; the Bibliotheque National, Paris; the George Eastman House, Rochester; the J. Paul Getty Museum of Art, Los Angeles; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Musee de L’Art Moderne, Paris; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; the Philadelphia Museum of Art; the Sprengel Museum, Hannover; the Tokyo Museum of Art; and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
Monographs of Nixon’s work include: Photographs from One Year (1983); Nicholas Nixon: Pictures of People (1988); Family Pictures (1991); People with AIDS (1991); School: Photographs from Three Schools (1998); The Brown Sisters (1999); A City Seen (2001); Nicholas Nixon (2003); and Live Love Look Last (2010).
Nixon lives in Brookline, Massachusetts and has been a professor at the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston since 1975.