NIGEL POOR, Carrie, 2010; from Remainders; 14 x 11 in., inkjet print. Edition of 10.
Nigel Poor’s Remainders is a series in which the artist washes previously banned books—all incorporating women’s names in the titles—and then photographs the remains. While working on this project, Poor noticed an anomaly in the physicality of the books: “Each book is judged and in a way censored by the process itself. There is a hierarchy in literature. Books considered to have literary cache are printed on better paper (ex: Madame Bovary). These works are better able to hold up to the washing and drying. The lesser works of literature (ex: Carrie), printed on newsprint, do not fare as well; their words are nearly washed away in the cleaning process.” In a playful (and literal) mash-up of anachronistic ideas—the cleaning (once considered “women’s work”) of “dirty” books—Poor launders these books into sculptural objects. She enjoys the combination of randomness and control her working process offers: “It is partly random because I cannot dictate how the washing process destroys the books, yet there is control because I can determine how the remnants will be dealt with photographically.”
Nigel Poor’s work is held in the permanent collections of a number of institutions including the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, CA; and Duke University Art Museum, Durham, NC. She has been included in exhibitions at the Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego, CA; San Jose Museum of Art, CA; and San Francisco Arts Commission. Since 2003, she has served as an Associate Professor of Photography at California State University, Sacramento.