Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Nene Humphrey

The Benny Andrews Foundation Gallery, on the fourth floor of the Ogden's Goldring Hall, is a space dedicated to the exhibition of works by Benny Andrews, his late father George Andrews (the Dot Man), and his wife, Nene Humphrey. Currently on display are works by Nene Humphrey as chosen from the Ogden's collection by Collections Manager, Bradley Sumrall.

Nene Humphrey’s work is concerned with the body, as well as issues of domesticity and the female identified world. Born in rural Wisconsin in 1947, Nene grew up in an environment that placed great value on labor and women’s hand-work. Raised Roman Catholic, she was greatly influenced by the church’s symbolism and body imagery. This background enabled her to create a body of work both firmly rooted in the craft traditions passed from mother to daughter, and in a post-minimalist tradition of using process and material as metaphor in a simple, pure aesthetic.

The human hand is central to Humphrey’s symbolism, being both portrait and tool. The hand is the vehicle through which we experience the world, feed ourselves and our loved ones, and create. Even when the hand is not used as the primary symbol, it is inferred through the process of traditional hand-work. The spoon, another major theme in Humphrey’s work, is simply an extension of the hand, used to provide sustenance.

To learn more about this Nene and her work, visit her website, www.nenehumphrey.com.
To see her most recent work, visit http://www.lesleyheller.com/artists/nene_humphrey/index.html.
Photos by Richard McCabe.

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