NADINE BOUGHTON // Death Valley: Painted Light

Fortune and the Feminine

I am continually drawn to the imagery and cultural milieu of mid-century America. In this series my focus is on gender polarities as depicted in popular magazines of the 1950’s and early 1960’s. Collage is the perfect form for bringing two distinct sets of images into conversation.

Fortune magazine depicted (and still does) men’s world of wealth, industry and big ideas. Its advertisements were awash with imagery of invention and executives’ glamour. Women’s magazines centered on the home with all its flowing fabrics, sensuality and a dreamy interiority.

My intention is to deconstruct these images of mid-century advertising, creating narratives of ambiguity with humor and a dark edge. What are the different relationships men and women have to power, beauty and longing? The images play with the convergence of interior and exterior domains; abstract ideas and the mystery of the female form. 

This series is an homage both to the handsome men in Fortune who look like all the fathers I watched in their big suits and briefcases, carpooling to a foreign land; and the community of mothers, who served egg salad sandwiches on the green lawns of suburbia.