Richard Taittinger Gallery is honored to present Rapaciously Yours, the first major solo exhibition of works by South African artist Frances Goodman in the United States.
“Rapacious” is defined as inordinately greedy, ravenous, and predatory. For Goodman, the term represents attributes that are only criticized in women, not men. With the spite of a sarcastic closing greeting, Rapaciously Yours investigates the complexities within the feminist pursuit of feeling at once powerful, self-satisfied, and desirable. In creating sculptural works with acrylic nails, Goodman defies the presumed superficiality of objects commonly associated with female identity. Works such as Violaceous (2015), made from an accumulation of false nails, evoke anatomical growths or scaled creatures. Their simultaneously alluring and unsettling qualities assert how self-ornamentation can act as a mode of empowerment.
Goodman’s enlarged talon-shaped nail sculptures, titled and patterned with designs from fake nail catalogues, further encapsulate their protective, totemic properties. Goodman also employs text to capture voices frequently subdued into silence. Car seats feature accounts from women, mostly sex workers, speaking about their loss of innocence and gaining of sexual power through experience. Feminine items that are often lost – pearls, necklaces, and earrings – transcribe their feelings of secret satisfaction, disappointment, or resignation.
Meanwhile, the immersive installation The Dream (2010-2016) is a seminal work that explores the social expectation of women to marry. Constructed from dozens of once-worn wedding dresses, organza, satin, and tulle, the work includes audio recordings from interviews with women divulging anxieties about how their true desires compare with the norm.
From prostitute to bride, Rapaciously Yours highlights the lack of socially acceptable ways for women to honor their innermost desires and ambitions. In her examination of beauty conventions, marriage traditions, and common material possessions, Goodman articulates both the self-imposed and external pressures for women to conform.
On view through April 16