Bea Nettles: Harvest of Memory


Bea Nettles, The Skirted Garden, 1969. Gift of the artist. 2017-20-2.
Bea Nettles, The Skirted Garden, 1969. Gift of the artist. 2017-20-2.


On view
Aug 27, 2020 to Nov 28, 2020
Main Level, East Gallery

Bea Nettles explores the narrative potential of photography through constructed images often made with alternative photographic processes. The first large-scale retrospective of her fifty-year career, Bea Nettles: Harvest of Memory demonstrates this celebrated artist’s experimental approaches to art-making.

Combining craft and photography, Nettles’s work makes use of wide-ranging tools and materials, including fabric and stitching, instamatic cameras, the book format, manually applied color, and hand‐coated photographic emulsions. Her imagery evokes metaphors that reference key stages in the lives of women, often with autobiographic undertones, and her key motifs draw upon mythology, family, motherhood, place, landscape, dreams, aging, and the passage of time.

Recognized for her innovations in mixed media photography, Nettles has taught photography and visual book-making since 1970, when she completed her MFA in the School of Art + Design at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she later taught from 1984 to 2008. Her alternative processes textbook Breaking the Rules: A Photo Media Cookbook has influenced generations of readers, and she has delivered lectures and workshops internationally. Her work is in museum collections throughout the United States and Canada, and her artists’ books can be found in special collections libraries, including significant holdings at the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Illinois.

A 200+ page, fully illustrated catalogue with essays by Jamie M. Allen, George Eastman Museum; Olivia Lahs-Gonzales, Director, The Sheldon Art Galleries; and Amy L. Powell, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at Krannert Museum will accompany the exhibition.

Co-organized by Olivia Lahs-Gonzales, Director, The Sheldon Art Galleries, St. Louis, Missouri; and Jamie Allen, Associate Curator, George Eastman Museum, Rochester, New York

Curated at Krannert Art Museum by Amy L. Powell, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art

Made possible in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Co-sponsored by the Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

gallery view of entry wall of Art Since 1948 with text and a row of paintings from the museum's modern and contemporary collection. Wall angles toward the viewer to guide their eye down the line of paintings to the next gallery beyond.
  1. Aug 29, 2019 to Dec 23, 2020
Illuminated inflatable sculpture inside the temple-like structure of the Kinkead Pavilion entrance of Krannert Art Museum. Sculpture by Nancy Davidson is conical with the point down, constructed of inflated orbs. A large braid cascades down the side.
  1. Jan 30, 2020 to Jan 23, 2021