Foto Relevance is pleased to present Smoke Bombs and Border Crossings, the gallery's debut solo exhibition of works by Nancy Newberry. Influenced by her Italian heritage and her Texan roots, the photographs in the show function as a contemporary Spaghetti Western, investigating the spectacle at the core of the Wild West. With meticulous attention to costume and uniform, the director artfully stages scenes of archetypal characters - American cowboys, Mexican charros, and soldiers costumed in marching band uniforms. Smoke Bombs and Border Crossings will be on view at Foto Relevance from March 26th through May 7th, 2022.
The Spaghetti Western genre, popularized in the 1960s, notably diverged from traditional Western films by reinterpreting and questioning its own archetypes and mythologies. This critical lens led to to rise of the anti-hero, a complex protagonist informed by post-war social conditions in Europe. The genre's earlier black-and-white, good vs. evil approach simplified complex historical narratives into neatly packaged parables, and these narratives steadily worked their way into the popular conception of the real history of the West. Newberry's work investigates the effect of these fantasy narratives in the creation of nationalism and cultural identities, including how those identities are performed through costume and language. The series explores the artifice and the real, the mythologies and the histories, the actors and the stage.