Nail Her is an exhibition of sculptural works by Frances Goodman who is known for her multimedia works that explore the commodification and objectification of the body, excess, and obsession. Her fascination with the commodification of the corporeal has informed most of Goodman’s career, she has addressed the body as consumable in such works as Young Guns, 2007, Stars in her Eyes, 2007 and most recently in the Vajazzling Series.
In Nail Her Goodman uses one of fashion’s ultimate feminine accessories – the false nail, which she layers and overlaps to create form, movement, pattern, and structure. False nails, for Goodman, signify a culture of excess and transience. The artist is interested in false nails as an expendable extension of the body – and has counteracted this by using the nails not to extend the body, but through emphasising size and shape to create bodily forms. The artist states: “Some of the sculptures are abstract and consider ideas of oozing, spreading, and writhing. Others suggest snakes and scaled creatures”. These enigmatic works are threatening and foreboding--their shape and scale emulate predators, which smother and overwhelm, yet are simultaneously impotent. The layering and positioning of the nails insinuates movement, yet these works are ostensibly static and, on closer inspection, fragile.
Goodman’s interest in the metaphor of false nail as scales, skin, and armor, and the obvious links to fashion and clothing has manifested in a collaborative piece with avant-garde South African fashion designer Suzaan Heyns. The perfomative sculptural dress constructed by Heyns reinterprets Goodman’s bodily sculptures by actually coating and sculpting the female body with false nails. The costume will be suspended during the exhibition, and activated during a series of choreographed performances where a performer will be suspended inside the costume. Whereas Goodman’s sculptures are physically static – and the nails are used to imply movement – Heyn’s costume will be caught up in the movement of the performer who will struggle within the confines of the static nails.
Goodman’s fascination with feminine accessories continues in her Lash Drawings: Preparatory Drawings for Almost Everything I Have Ever Made, a new series of drawings made from false eyelashes.
Born in 1975 in Johannesburg South Africa, Goodman is fast becoming known as one of South Africa’s strong artistic voices on feminism, consumerism and desire. She studied Fine Arts at Wits University, Johannesburg. On completion of an MA at Goldsmiths College, London, UK, she lived in Antwerp, Belgium, where she was artist in residence at HISK (Higher Institute for Fine Arts). Goodman has had solo exhibitions at the Goodman Gallery in South Africa, Aeroplastics in Belgium, (Art)Amalgamated in New York and TM Projects in Geneva. She has participated in major international exhibitions such as The Divine Comedy: Heaven, Hell, Purgatory revisited by Contemporary African Artists commencing at MMK Frankfurt and travelling to the Smithsonian and the Hayward,Lust and Vice: From Durer to Nauman at the Kunstmuseum Bern, Spheres, at Le Moulin, France, and Beauty and Pleasure, The Stenersen Museum, Oslo, Norway. Her work has been shown at the Armory, Art Basel and Art Basel Miami. She has been invited onto a number of residencies, including ISCP, New York, The Foundation GegenwART Berne, Switzerland, Recollets International Accommodation and Exchange Centre, Paris and, Artist’s Work Program, Irish Museum of Modern Art Dublin, Ireland.
On completion of Nail Her Goodman will be travelling to New York to attend Art Omi. Later this year her work will be part of the group exhibition The Divine Comedy: Heaven, Hell, Purgatory revisited by Contemporary African Artists at the Smithsonian in Washington. She has upcoming solo exhibitions in New York and Brussels and has a residency at the Fountainhead, Miami lined up for 2015.