Taking on the hidden world of Irish Catholicism, photographer Jackie Nickerson's latest body of work, called "Faith," visits the hallways, libraries, kitchens and dining rooms of Catholic institutions. Shot over two-and-a-half years, her resulting portraits of priests and nuns, architectural details and still-lifes (such as an image of the waste from communion wafers) are touched with intimacy and absurdity. The series offers a rare glimpse into the places and people that are part of the rich history of Catholicism in Ireland (where Nickerson currently calls home).
Like her work documenting Africam farmworkers, Nickerson's highly-attuned eye picks up the nuances of the subculture—a nun's Birkenstock-clad feet, the simplicity of a place setting, a priest's deeply-lined face, a human-shaped silhouette of a window—with an unerringly even-handed gaze. The effect is not unlike a painting, lending an almost artificial stillness where the nuns look like statues and rooms look perfectly composed in Nickerson's "Fra Angelico" palette.
A monograph of Faith is due out this month from SteidlMack, which will be available at Chelsea's Jack Shaiman gallery when the show opens this Thursday, 11 October 2007.