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Textual Portraits: Envisioning Social Heritage by Leslie Nichols
18 Sep 2013
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Leslie Nichols started the ongoing series Textual Portraits: Envisioning Social Heritage to envision the social and historical context of women’s lives. Nichols’ desire to better understand ideas about womanhood as they currently exist in her community inspired this series.

Nichols layers words and phrases from historical feminist texts to build value scales and create the images of contemporary students, artists, and writers. Each work in the series is inspired by an encounter, either brief or prolonged, with an individual woman. These encounters provide a connection to a text related to the social and historical context of the sitter’s concerns or persona. The texts used to create the image originate mainly from the United States and address various facets of women’s rights. The titles of the works reference the sitter’s first name followed by the author and date of the text: Sitter (Text AuthorText Date). For example, Lois (Woolf 1929) depicts artist and coop gallery founder Lois Dodd with Virginia Woolf’s 1929 text A Room of One’s Own.

Nichols uses a manual typewriter to create the intimately scaled works in this series. Since the typewriter’s origins as a tool to print manuscripts in the late 1800s, people have used it to create works of art. She finds interest in using the typewriter, an early tool of the secretary, to craft images of contemporary women with historical texts about women. Nichols creates large format works with hand stamped oil-based ink and stenciled graphite. She uses a variety of commercial and handmade alphabet stamps and stencils to build the value scales.

For more information about Textual Portraits: Envisioning Social Heritage or Leslie Nichols visit www.LeslieNicholsArt.com or connect with Leslie Nichols on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/leslienicholsart

The artist or arts organization telling this story was supported in part by a grant from the Kentucky Foundation for Women. KFW is based on the belief that when women and girls advance, so does Kentucky. For more information about the foundation and the social change artmaking being done by the individuals and organizations it supports, visit www.kfw.org." 

Art Culture Empowerment Gender Rural-Urban Women Project/Initiative Southeast Visual Artist typewriter
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