Nancy Webber

Life Imitates Art

My work is concerned with ways of seeing, such as Oscar Wilde expressed in his essay, “On the Decay of Lying”

“Paradox though it may seem – paradoxes are always dangerous things – it is nonetheless true that life imitates art far more than art imitates life…and it always has been so. Things are because we see them, and what we see, and how we see it, depends on the arts that have influenced us.”

The excitement for me is the aliveness of the art/life relationship, being alert to chance meetings and observations. My background as a painter and teacher of art, whereby I have always been looking at artworks, has supplied me with a memory bank of art history. This phenomenon consciously dates back to graduate study in Florence, Italy and I have been documenting it since 1979. Original photographs of contemporary people are juxtaposed with figures from well-known paintings and/or drawings as well as sculptures (in galleries, in museums or books), spanning the history of art, asserting that “life imitates art.”

People often ask, which comes first, the person or the art? In the majority of cases, the process involves my seeing a person who reminds me of a particular person or type in a painting. Occasionally I will be looking through books or galleries and the artwork will remind me of a person I know or have seen recently. I must then approach the person, do some research and schedule a sitting if possible. The recreation should be as natural to the subject as possible, rather than a theatrical reconstruction (although there are a few exceptions). It is a matter of keeping one’s eyes and art mind open, as has been said, “Chance favors the prepared mind”

Purchases of Life Imitates Art, 108 pages containing one hundred portrait photographs, may be made for $25. each from Nancy Webber,

Nancy Webber

Copyright Nancy Webber 2018  All rights reserved.