Frances Goodman’s Writhing Sculptures Consist of Fake Nails

by Andy SmithPosted on

Separately, each artificial nail used by South African artist Frances Goodman is a temporary, expendable object. But when the artist combines them into a single sculpture, she depicts living, “bodily forms” that defy their nature. “Some of the sculptures are abstract and consider ideas of oozing, spreading, and writhing,” the artist says, in a statement. “Others suggest snakes and scaled creatures.”

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Take the 2016 piece “Succubus,” below, which emulates both nature’s flora and the female form. “Ophiophilia” and “Medusa” take on the shapes of animal life, serpernts that are cohesive and menacing until further inspected.

“Let Down Your Hair” is one of the most elaborate examples of the power of this material. The site-responsive installation extends along the curved wall of the 55 5th Avenue lobby. More of Goodman’s recent work with nails was recently seen at Richard Taittiner Gallery in New York City, which featured the exhibit “Rapaciously Yours.”


The show also featured “The Dream,” an installation six years in the making. “Constructed from dozens of once-worn wedding dresses, organza, satin, and tulle, the work includes audio recordings from interviews with women divulging anxieties about how their true desires compare with the norm,” the gallery says.

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