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Jackie Nickerson  

Photographer & Artist

Jackie Nickerson creates photographs that examine identity and the physical and psychological condition of working within a specific environment. Her photographs challenge conventional notions of making portraits and landscapes and offer a more engaged view of her subjects. In each body of work like Farm; Faith; Terrain; and Ten Miles Round, Nickerson has created a graceful meditation on helping the viewer understand what it is to belong.

Nickerson is an American born, British conceptual documentary photographer. Her work has been exhibited in many museums including the Museum of Modern Art, Salzburg; Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels; Mudam Musee d’Art Moderne, Luxembourg; Galleria d’Arte dell’Istituto Portoghesi, Rome; National Portrait Gallery, London; Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas; Santa Barbara Museum of Art; Sunderland Museum; Harn Museum, Gainesville; Vatican Museums, Rome; Hereford Museum, UK; Abdijdmuseum Ten Duinen, Belgium; and Benaki Museum, Athens.

While living in Zimbabwe in the 1990s she made her first body of work, FARM. It concentrates on how individual identity is made through improvisation. This was published by Jonathan Cape in September 2002. and was followed by a German edition entitled ‘Leben Mit Der Erde’ published by Frederking and Thaler (2002) and a French edition, ‘Une Autre Afrique’ published by Flammarion (2002). Nickerson’s latest body of work, Terrain, published in 2014 by TF editions, takes a broader view, focusing on labor and the synergy between cultivation, workers and the environment. In an interview for Cult magazine in July 2013, Nickerson said, “TERRAIN is about us in the landscape, how we change the world we inhabit at every moment of our being human, and how, for better and for worse, the world that we make, in turn, changes who we are.”

Critic Martha Schwendener, writing in the New York Times, said “Jackie Nickerson works in a traditional social documentary format, not too dissimilar from Walker Evans or Dorothea Lange, only updated for the current millennium… The photographs still ripple with politics, particularly around the issues of food production, agribusiness, and labor. It’s just that they are marked with a next-generation awareness of the pitfalls of photographing people. Where the liberal humanism of earlier social documentary used people as its “universal” currency, “Terrain” puts plants and work implements in the foreground. In this sense, you might call Ms. Nickerson’s work post-human social documentary.”

Nickerson’s photographs are held in many collections including MoMA, New York; Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas; Pier 24, San Francisco; Vatican Museums, Rubell Collection, Santa Barbara Museum of Art; Progressive Art Collection, National Gallery of Ireland. In 2008 she was the winner of the AIB prize and has been shortlisted for the Deutscher Fotobuchpreis award (2008) and the John Kobal Prize (2003). In 2007 she was selected to be part of Le Mois de la Photo in Paris showing at the Centre Culturel Irlandais. She is the recipient of a Culture Ireland award and several Visual Art Bursaries from the Irish Arts Council. Jackie Nickerson was also commissioned by TIME to travel to Liberia to photograph the 2014 Person of the Year: The Ebola Fighters.

Jack Shainman Gallery has worked with Nickerson since 2005 when Farm was shown, followed by Jackie Nickerson: Faith in 2007. Both of these solo exhibitions have toured extensively. Terrain opened on January 16, 2014. Nickerson was part of group shows called Poiesis (2007), Compilations (2013), For Freedoms (2016), and Orientation: The Racial Imagery Institute Biennial (2018).

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