Name: Nicole Cudzilo
Born: Bethel, CT
Lives and works: Santa Fe, NM
In Nicole Cudzilo’s recent photography series The Edge, female figures are positioned surreally out-of-step with their settings. Typically set in the natural landscape, these women are wigged and clothed in outfits reminiscent of the 1950s, replete with connotations of social conformity, submission, and constrained conceptions of femininity. Her images contemplate the role of fashion and appearance as mechanisms that historically and continually both celebrate and constrain women.
The artist herself plays each character, face shielded to anonymize and serve as a stand-in for the everywoman who also performs—intentionally and not—various personal and societal roles through dress and appearance. These characters explore the American West. Whether perched on a rock ledge in a puffy-sleeved nightgown or sporting lingerie in a vacant rodeo ring, each figure is impractically dressed for the scene, creating shifts of context that suggest surreal narratives and echo the many impracticalities of female fashion.
Cudzilo discovered photography a decade ago and has been producing images ever since. Working primarily in film, the artist works in medium and large format, 35mm, and instant film. Cudzilo also teaches workshops, mentors students, and participates in visiting artist and lecture programs in various schools.