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Laurel Nakadate (American, b. 1975) creates work that examines contemporary modes of self-representation and identity formation. Exploring loneliness and relationships amongst strangers, her practice predates, yet foreshadows, the onslaught of social media platforms that pervade our everyday lives. The exhibitions on view will highlight the artist’s most recent bodies of work that investigate her personal family history, love, and loss, through a matriarchal framing.

Tephra ICA will present a selection of photographs from the Relations series, begun in 2013. In Relations, Nakadate travelled across the country photographing familial “matches” that she discovered through a commercial DNA testing service. The series features direct relatives of her mother where each photograph was taken at night with a single light source at a location of their choice. Nakadate reflects, “I realized at a certain point it wasn’t just about the people, but it was about these landscapes. It was about stand in these landscapes at night. And it was about the sort of ways that I could still be surprised by photography.”

Her mother died shortly thereafter before having the opportunity to hold Nakadate’s newborn son. In The Kingdom series, Nakadate depicts grandmother and grandchild together through the merging of photographs of the infant with photographs spanning the grandmother’s life. To accomplish this final image, Nakadate hired technicians over the internet to phot edit her son into the arms of mother. The entire series will be show together for the first time at Tephra ICA.

A concurrent exhibition, MOTHER, will be on view at Mason Exhibitions Arlington beginning in March 2022. This is the third iteration of the group exhibition co-organized by Nakadate, which was first shown at Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects, New York, in 2018. MOTHER explores the idea of motherhood from a diversity of female perspectives.

Laurel Nakadate was born in Austin, TX and raised in Ames, IA. She currently lives and works in Boston and New York. Nakadate’s work can be found in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Yale University Art Gallery, the Hessel Museum of Art, Bard College, Princeton University Art Museum, Smith College Museum of Art, LACMA, the Guggenheim Museum, the Saatchi Collection and other private collections. Nakadate received a BFA from Tufts University and the Scholl of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and an MFA in photography from Yale University.