Bea Nettles' Place

Artist Talk: Bea Nettles, 1.24.2017

Book artist Bea Nettles will be speaking Tuesday, January 24, 2017, from 2:30 – 3:30 in the School of Visual Art & Design Gallery. This is a program sponsored by Special Collections & University Archives and the School of Visual Art & Design. From her website,

“Bea Nettles’ artists’ books and photographic works often using alternative photographic processes, juxtaposing multiple images, or incorporating text. After earning a BFA at the University of Florida in 1968, Nettles went on to pursue an MFA at the University of Illinois. She graduated in 1970 and participated in her first major exhibition later that year, when her work was featured in Photography into Sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. In the following decades Nettles continued to take an experimental approach to photography, which has been influential, exploring the limits of the medium and helping to usher in the widespread use of photography in mixed media works. In 1977, she published a how-to guide devoted to alternative processes, entitled “Breaking the Rules: A Photo Media Cookbook.”

Much of Nettles’ work has an autobiographical foundation, as exemplified in one of her best known photographic books, Life Lessons: A Mother’s Journal. In this long-term project, which she started after the birth of her first child in 1978, Nettles reflects unsentimentally on the experience of motherhood through black and white photographs and textual elements. In the mid-1990s, when Nettles was in her late forties, she began a series titled Turning 50, which she eventually published as a small-sized book. Since 1984 she has taught at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where she is currently Professor Emerita.”

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