With a focus on modified nostalgic images, Frances Berry’s work highlights the power of contemporary art.
Active since 2008, she is best known for both minimally- and highly-altered photography, either capturing her own images or altering found ones. But what really accentuates her thorough immediacy is a focus on old photographs, warped and affected in surprising but thoughtful ways. In her series “Becoming,” for instance, she mirrored and stretched archetypal American portraits, twisting their canned immobility. And in a series for BAZAAR Art, Berry worked with vintage images of Singapore, overlaying them with themselves, highlighting the country’s architecture as well as its penchant for Americana.
Now, Berry has returned to Nashville’s Channel to Channel gallery for her first solo show there in years: “Unladylike.” (The exact date of her last show at the gallery varies, depending on who you ask. Channel to Channel marks that debut as 2016, while Berry seems to list it as 2015 on her artist’s CV.) Running until May 25, this show offers a new approach from the contemporary artist — while still inundated with nostalgic imagery, Berry has drawn the works that appear.
“This show created a new foundation for Berry’s work which began to include many works on paper drawn with mixed media such as pastel, acrylic marker, charcoal and printed imagery,” according to Channel to Channel. “A narrative began to unfold of characters from her [Memphis] upbringing, strangers and ‘lady parts.’ Sensual and sexual at times and bizarre and humorous at others, Berry has created a body of work that embodies her spirit, personality and is often times autobiographical.”
In Bomb Pop, Berry has rendered the melting confection of American youth and adorned its dripping stickiness with graffiti and provocative statements. Like much in Berry’s oeuvre, it reconsiders the nostalgic through her unique contemporary lens.
Berry received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Alabama and her Master of Fine Arts degree from the Memphis College of Art. Her work has been featured in Marfa, Texas; Paris and by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. She currently lives in Memphis.
Channel to Channel is located at 507 Hagan Street in We-Ho.