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Bea Nettles

Bea Nettles
Harvest of Memory

A survey of ground-breaking mixed-media photography, spanning a half century of innovative perspectives that push the boundaries of how we define photography.

George Eastman Museum
October 2019
Active (available)
272 pages | 10.5 x 9.5 | 196 color photos, 92 b&w photos |

From her hand-colored, machine-stitched photographic prints to her artist’s books and well-known Mountain Dream Tarot card deck (the first-known photographic treatment of the tarot) Bea Nettles’s work has always upended tradition. Bea Nettles: Harvest of Memory presents the span of her art across half a century, in conjunction with an exhibition co-organized by the George Eastman Museum in Rochester, New York, and the Sheldon Art Galleries in St. Louis, Missouri.

Recognized for her innovations in mixed-media photography, Nettles used alternative photographic processes that produced textured works, with subjects including self-portraits; investigations of the body and its relationship to nature and landscape; and the experience of mothering, loss, and aging. A tremendously productive artist, Nettles has received critical acclaim, and her work has become part of museum permanent collections from coast to coast. Now, for the first time in her fifty-year career, Bea Nettles: Harvest of Memory offers a large-scale retrospective of an artist who profoundly illuminates our inner worlds.

  • Foreword (Bruce Barnes)
  • Preface (Olivia Lahs-Gonzales)
  • Acknowledgments
  • Part I. Essays
    • Overcoming Constraints (Jamie M. Allen)
    • Bea Nettles: Artist/Mother (Olivia Lahs-Gonzales)
    • Photographic Objects/Institutional Artifacts: Bea Nettles in Context (Amy L. Powell)
  • Part II. Plates and Texts
    • Opening Statement (Bea Nettles)
    • Plates: 1968–1975
    • Mountain Dream Tarot (Bea Nettles)
    • Plates: 1975–1992
    • Complexities (Bea Nettles)
    • Plates 1995–2011
    • Gravestone Poetry (Bea Nettles)
    • Plates: 2011–2015
    • Closing Statement: (Bea Nettles)
  • Selected Chronology (Jamie M. Allen with Bea Nettles)
  • Selected Bibliography (Jamie M. Allen)
  • About the Contributors
  • Photography Credits
  • Index

Bea Nettles began her international exhibition career in 1970 with Photography Into Sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art. She received two National Endowment for the Arts Photography Fellowships, and taught for thirty years at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Jamie M. Allen is the Stephen B. and Janice G. Ashley Associate Curator in the Department of Photography at the George Eastman Museum.

Olivia Lahs-Gonzales is the director of the Sheldon Art Galleries in St. Louis, Missouri.

Amy L. Powell is the curator of modern and contemporary art at Krannert Art Museum at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Founded in 1947 and located in Rochester, New York, the George Eastman Museum is the world's oldest photography museum and one of the earliest film archives, with major collections in photography and cinema and related technologies as well as photography books.