Written on the Body by Nancy Gray

The bodily experience as text, and text written on the body, merge in the work of Nancy Gray. Her mixed-media print Written on the Body combines photography, performance, digital printing, hand-made paper and collage in evocations of memory and personal experience. This work hints at text as personal narrative, at once intimate and almost secretive, laboriously written out on the body, in the paper and on collaged surfaces, but layered over and almost inaccessible. It is this last point that lingers in the viewer’s mind as a question: what is the action (of writing, seeing, stating—and then partially obliterating) saying to us? The materials themselves suggest a partial response. They are hesitant, fragmentary, wrapped and bound in a manner that parallels the bodies in the photographs. More is held ‘under wraps’ than is actually given. This is an example where the text has no spoken counterpart: it is to be seen but not said. This work is based on the artist’s research on the culture of other countries that she explores in her travels: wanderings through marketplaces in India and Egypt, watching women sell fabrics, henna applied to hands and feet, and collecting postcards in Arabic and Hindustani. The scrawl, the sentiments, the experience shared in text, are the lines of narrative that have no beginning and no end, simply wrap like skin over the days and months of daily life.

Nancy Gray: The experience of many places (India, Nepal, Jordan, Turkey, China, Guatemala), cultures, religions, colours, smells, fabrics and papers stay with her. She tries to make sense of all of these things through her art. She works on found and handmade papers, layering photography, paint, print, collage and text. She is a final year fine art BA (Hons) student at Dundee University.