A new photography exhibition by Alumna Halen Maurene Cooper explores the city’s divergent nail art scene.
A new photography exhibition by Alumna Halen Maurene Cooper explores the city’s divergent nail art scene.
June 19

Polished Fingers Point to Colorful Chicago Community

On June 14 WBEZ contributor Britt Julious featured Nailed, an exhibition of photographs by SAIC alumna Helen Maurene Cooper (MFA 2007) on view at the City Gallery at the Historic Water Tower Place. The show combines works from a pair of Cooper’s series, Jazzy Nails and Hard Candy, both centering on Chicago’s divergent nail-art community and its unique acrylic aesthetic. “I’m interested in how everything that adorns the person expresses something about what their character is,” Cooper says. “You learn a lot about a person by seeing what their hands look like.” Works include a collection of staged portraits captured in collaboration with nail techs and patrons of Naughty Nailz, where Cooper is a weekly customer. “The end result is a series of photographs that are loving, positive, and rich with humanity,” Julious writes. “The women (and children) photographed are not subjects, but her fellow enthusiasts in the community.” Nailed runs through September 29.