Laurel Nakadate: artist talk and reception

  • on 4 Apr 2014
  • Convocation Hall
Carolina Beach

The University Art Gallery presents Laurel Nakadate: Strangers and Relations, an exhibition of large-scale color portrait photographs drawn from Nakadate’s Star Portraits and Relations series. Records of first-time encounters, taken at night in isolated locations, lit by moonlight and a single handheld flashlight, these photographs construct fragile, intimate relationships between artist, subject, and viewer. The exhibit will be on view January 18 to April 6. Nakadate will speak about her work at 4:30 p.m. April 4 in Convocation Hall, followed by a reception.

During the summer of 2011, Laurel Nakadate began to photograph strangers for the Star Portraits series, inviting friends of friends, Facebook “friends,” and curious members of the online community to meet her at night in remote corners of the United States and Europe. During the same time period, Nakadate also undertook DNA and genealogical research, discovering genetic ties to the descendants of slaves and pilgrims, the McCoy clan, and the early Protestant feminist Anne Hutchinson, among others. She contacted distant relatives on DNA websites, and arranged to meet them, also at night, in order to make their portraits for Relations. Her subjects, whether distant relatives or Internet contacts, appeared for their portraits without prior instructions and chose their own clothing. The results are photographic performances that record the instant that the artist and her subjects see each other for the first time, capturing the connection of strangers. (Above, Carolina Beach, North Carolina #1, 2013, Type-C print, 40 x 60 inches. Courtesy Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects, New York)