by Molly Butler

When it comes to nudity, especially female nudity, there is a fine line between comfort and discomfort.

On the one hand, there is the comfort of the woman herself; if she is comfortable in her body, in her home, comfortable in her skin. There is also the discomfort of some viewers, who may view the human form as taboo, inappropriate or inherently sexual. Local artist, Beth Ann Hamilton, explores that fine line. Her mixed media works are not merely erotic; they’re comfortable. Hamilton’s exhibition, “Domestic Multiplexity” runs August 6-21 at the 410 Project gallery in Mankato.

Out of the Woods

“I was an awkward little kid growing up in the woods with my grandma,” said Hamilton.

Perhaps a little shy as a kid, Hamilton always had an interest in art. After graduating high school, she received a scholarship through the Horatio Alger fund to attend a 4-year program. She originally planned to study social work, but at the last minute decided to focus instead on her true passions.

The body is a great tool. You learn how to draw when you learn how to see. Beth Ann Hamilton

She attended Riverland Community College in Austin, Minnesota, where she earned her Associate of Arts. She then transferred to MSU Mankato, where she attained her Bachelor of Fine Arts. After taking a year off to travel, Hamilton returned and worked as a teaching assistant for two years while she earned her Master of Arts.

“I could stay in school forever,” said Hamilton.

Submitted Image - Beth Ann Hamilton in the studio
Submitted Image – Beth Ann Hamilton in the studio

She currently works as an art teacher, providing in-home tutoring, teaching Art History in her hometown, and teaching lessons at the Makerspace in Mankato.

After completely her program at MSU, Hamilton was supposed to have a Graduate Art Exhibition, but due to the pandemic, it was canceled. This will be her first solo showing since the cancellation.

Submitted Image - Fishnets and Flowers by Beth Ann Hamilton
Submitted Image – Fishnets and Flowers by Beth Ann Hamilton

Pattern and portrait

 Hamilton had always been interested in life drawing.

 “The body is a great tool,” said Hamilton. “You learn how to draw when you learn how to see.”

The most prolific portion of this exhibit will be Hamilton’s collection of large-scale fabric portraits. They portray women in domestic settings, created with linens, sheet covers, wallpapers, and other domestic materials.

“My project right now is how taboo it is to have pictures of beautiful bodies on your phone.

What I’m doing is asking people who feel comfortable to share these nude selfies and I make it big and beautiful and elegant. It’s fun to do projects with a substantial societal relevance,” said Hamilton. “I don’t want to do art just to be erotic. I wanted it to be comfortable to the viewer. My body is comfortable nude in my house.”

Submitted Image - Rouge and Roses 2 by Beth Ann Hamilton
Submitted Image – Rouge and Roses 2 by Beth Ann Hamilton

This particular feature of the gallery was funded by the Prairie Lakes Regional Art Council, which awarded Hamilton a grant to complete the work. The gallery will also feature her medium scale collages and Hamilton inherited several boxes of 70’s and 80’s Playboy magazines, which she has cut up and displayed as journal entries she imagined by the women themselves.

“The images aren’t for men anymore. I’ve taken them over,” said Hamilton.

Evolution of the Artist

Hamilton’s style has evolved over time.

“It’s definitely more complex. It seems simple but it’s taken a long time to get here,” said Hamilton.

Submitted Image - Rouge and Roses by Beth Ann Hamilton
Submitted Image – Rouge and Roses by Beth Ann Hamilton

She wants to continue that growth and evolution into the future.

“I want to keep up with this project. More, more, more. Bigger. Prolific,” said Hamilton.

Almost all the pieces displayed at the 410 Project will be available for purchase. Anyone interested in commissions can reach out directly via her email: bethannhamiltonart@gmail.com. Follow her Facebook or Instagram to see more of her works available for purchase and to keep up with her showings.

Triple Falls Productions Interview with Beth Ann Hamilton

 

Author


  • is a writer, gardener, and animal lover. She returned to the Mankato area after completing her MFA in Creative Writing at Hamline University.