Haleigh Nickerson | Fine Arts - Parsons

haleighnickerson.com
Artist Bio

Haleigh Nickerson is originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, is currently based in Manhattan, New York, and holds a BA in Art Practice from The University of California, Berkeley.

2017 MFA Fine Art Thesis Walkthrough- Haleigh Nickerson from Parsons Art, Media & Technology on Vimeo.

Haleigh Nickerson, Panthera (video still), 2016

Haleigh Nickerson, S.B.W. 1 , Digital C Print, 2016

The photograph is a self portrait. This image is part of a larger series, S.B.W. series. I am exploring the Strong Black Woman trope through the use of costuming and through use of the private domestic space.

Haleigh Nickerson, ‘Pretty Blonde Girls’, Digital C Print, 2016

The photograph is a self portrait. I am using whiteface as a tool to investigate notions of beauty, beauty politics and desire.

Haleigh Nickerson, Hot Comb, Annie’s Hot Comb Hair Straightening Tool, 2016

This is an Annie’s Hot Comb straightening tool that has been deconstructed and transformed into a functional handheld weapon. It can be imagined as a distorted hot comb or as a weapon of self defense.

Haleigh Nickerson, Sista’s Shield, Fragmented, found comb parts and acrylic on steel, 2016

This object is imagined as part of the constructed character: 'Sista Soulja'. The shield is one of her weapons of self defense. She uses the shield as protection during combat. The sculptural object functions as a sculpture. It also has been used as a prop.

Haleigh Nickerson, Sista Soulja, Digital C Print, 2016

The photograph is a self portrait.
I am embodying a re-imagined, afro centric, wonder woman-like character called 'Sista Soulja'. Sista Soulja is a Foxy Brown like, comic book like satire. The sculptural costume was made separately and is used as a prop in this image. The costume also functions as a sculptural object separately.This image is to be viewed in juxtaposition with the self portrait 'I See Myself In You, mimic # 2', to raise questions and emphasize the contrast between both identities (to emphasize sameness and difference).

Haleigh Nickerson, I See Myself In You, mimic #2, Digital C Print, 2017

The photograph is a self portrait. I performed and captured myself as myself. I am wearing a variation of my typical or normal ‘street clothes’ . My hair is done in a variation of my usual ordinary way of wearing my hair, and I am not wearing makeup. This image intentionally lacks the exaggeration, hair, costume, and makeup.This can be understood as a raw, deconstructed version of the self. This image is to be viewed in juxtaposition with the 'Sista Soulja' self portrait, to raise questions and emphasize the contrast between both identities (to emphasize sameness and difference).

Artist Statement


My work explores intersections of race, gender, beauty politics and desire through self portrait photography , sculpture, performance and various other media. I am interested in constructions of black female identity and specific constructions of “blackness”. The doing and the undoing. In terms of ‘construction’’: ‘ formations’, style, things we we wear, the things we do to ourselves to achieve some sort of end result, the things or people in which we aspire to be, and mimic; images we regurgitate, make as our own and (or) may perhaps be trapped inside of; The many ways in which we understand inhabit, perform and transform ourselves, while simultaneously concealing and revealing ourselves. I understand this ‘construction’ as being the many icons, images, archetypes, or objects that inform our memory, self viewership, self awareness, and contribute, in totality, to the making of ourselves. Through the construction, deploy, and embodiment of multiple personas. In my consistent use of self glorification (or narcissism), there is an attempt to claim agency and empowerment within these multiple, frameworks, narratives and distinguished worlds. My work is costume and performance based. The photographs are performative self portraits. The work begins with an embodiment of imagined characters, that can be understood as as multiple versions of the self, while simultaneously functioning as Avatars.