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Issue No. 17 - Enigma

Nancy Burson's Composites at Clamp Art

Image: Copyright Nancy Burson, "Aged Barbie," 1994, Polaroid, Courtesy of ClampArt, New York City

        Nancy Barson is one of the few artists exhibiting currently that likes to play with the intersection of art and science. To most, the two seem at opposite ends of the spectrum. Composites isn't new work; the exhibition covers her earlier work with digital technology. This work was done before everyone had access to photoshop and it's upon Burson's shoulders all photographers who use digital tech (and that's 90%) are standing.

Burson manipulates images and combines various eyes, chins, cheeks to create unnerving representations of faces. She draws from portraits of movie stars and the composite versions look like police sketches from a witness who describes in exacting detail.

It's the more eerie ones that the view is drawn to Androgyny (6man + 6 women) is ghostly and beautiful, while Aged Barbie is disturbing.

 

Review by Johm Hutt

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Copyright Nancy Burson, "First and Second Beauty Composites (Left: Bette Davis, Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Sophia Loren, Marilyn Monroe. Right: Jane Fonda, Jacqueline Bisset, Diane Keaton, Brooke Shields, Meryl Streep.)," 1982, Gelatin silver print from computer-generated negative, Courtesy of ClampArt, New York City
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Copyright Nancy Burson, "Androgyny [6 Men + 6 Women]," 1982, Gelatin silver print from computer-generated negative, Courtesy of ClampArt, New York Cit
 

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