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Intimate Spaces: Remembering Vermeer I

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Nancy Macko, American, b. 1950
Intimate Spaces: Remembering Vermeer I, 2009 - 2012
Ink on paper
39 x 27 in. (99.06 x 68.58 cm)


Object Type: Photography
Technique: Digital print
Creation Place: North America, America, California
Credit Line: Scripps College. Purchase made possible by the Jean and Arthur Ames Fund
Accession Number: 2012.4.7


Commentary
My mother struggled with cognitive decline and memory loss as a result of dementia for the last eight years of her life. As I watched my mother’s life fade and eventually end, I was so much more aware of my own mortality. During this time, I turned to my garden for solace. Observing the full cycle of life at close range among the flowers and plants I nurtured and tended, I began to photograph these subjects using a handheld macro lens as a meditative process that gave me a sense of intimacy and a renewed appreciation of life. Throughout my career I have had an enduring love and use of photography in my artistic practice so it was not a surprise to be shooting in the garden. The surprise was how stunning and sensitive the images were. Aging is not a topic easily discussed or rendered in the art world, but I felt compelled to record the exquisite beauty, fragility and also abjectness this cycle of creation/dissolution/regeneration demonstrates. It provided me with a way to confront aging as a personal, social and universal experience and I think the images make that clear.
The images in the series, Intimate Spaces, are realized as large-scale photographic prints. They are erotic and sexy, poignant and tender, and sometimes abject and unsettling. Remembering Vermeer is one of the images from this suite of work. In this image one holds the threads of the beginning and the end at the same time. Looking at such intimate images on a larger-than-life scale signals a deep respect and value for our most private and vulnerable moments and experiences and draws us closer together in our humanity.
Nancy Macko Professor of Art

Marks
On the back, in the artist's hand:

Remembering Vermeer, 2009-2012
Nancy Macko
1/5 39 x 27"

Medium
Ink on paper: Archival digital print mounted on white Sintra and faced with Plexiglas.

Object Description
A dying flower, its blossom dried and twisted shut extends from the swollen carpel of the plant in the center of the work. Two additional dried and dead blossoms run parallel to the bottom margins of the photograph. The background is dark and indistinct. The plant and its blossoms have been photographed with intense detail and rich color.

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