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Artist's Reception: Jane Hilton at Nailya Alexander Gallery

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Updated: Thursday, October 31, 2013


Exhibition Dates: June 13 - July 13, 2013

Opening with the Artist:

Wednesday, June 12

6:00 - 8:00 pm

Ten years after the London-based photographer Jane Hilton was commissioned by the BBC to make a series of documentaries, Love for Sale, on Nevada's legalized prostitution she returned to work further on the subject. With her plate camera Hilton visited eleven brothels. The works show the expected and unexpected around the typically taboo topic. Hilton gives attention to set the stage- landcapes, roadways, neon signs, buildings and sometimes compounds that house the girls are carefully included alongside images of the women themselves. This inclusive look gives context to place, time, and conditions and allows a richness to the project which calls for reflections on notions of beauty and the stigma of prostitution itself. The landscape is barren but beautiful- dirt roads and scrub-brush give way to distant mountain views. Painted walls advertising nude girls and bakinis; road sign "warnings" for hot and nasty wild sex; and a street sign for Break-a-Heart rd. all promise what lies ahead. When we see the girls we experience an array of women; each is captured with radiance and dignity. The intimacy of the portraiture allows much of the women's personal character to emerge. Though portraits are often made in the woman's presumed place of work, we see through any facade they may usually employ and into the heart of their personality. The women we find may cause our expectations to be met and surprised. There are young buties like Ruby at the Wild Horse Ranch; she is a cherry-lipped youth with long golden hair that flows to cover her topless torso. Some women appear defiant; one turns from us entirely to show her large back tattoo that says "trust no man." One of the most confidant women is Porsha at Donna's Ranch. She is a large woman who stares boldly at us from a red-cloaked throne-like bead that makes her appear regal. Others sit like Venus and seem somewhat coy- Miss Katerina Marie watches us with poise, but a bit of uncertainty, and Juniper Lee at Kit Kat Ranch is in a class with Porsha but with a softer more cat-like glance. The images are visually rich, painterly, and enticing. We find and easy beauty in frames that allow politics to fall aside.

Jane Hilton has produced a book in association with the series; it will be released by Schilt publishing this month.

For more information on the exhibition, please visit

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