Emily on the Bridge 2/10


  • From a limited edition of 10 archival photographs
  • Signed and numbered by artist A.K. Nicholas
  • Image: 20×15.75 inches/51×40 cm
  • Paper: 22×17.75 inches/56×45 cm



A deserted bridge, a creative model, and an imposing concrete slab create dynamic, intersecting lines that draw the viewer’s eyes through this piece. Emily’s outstretched limbs overlap with the curving line of the wall of concrete, simultaneously creating balance and tension. Her soft form contrasts drastically with the cold, unornamented concrete mass that stretches behind her. The lack of color apparent in this industrial nude art is interrupted briefly by the soft, muted pink and yellow tones of the sky.

Emily strikes a clever pose and is framed by curvature receding into the background. Her dynamic figure stretches as if sliding off into the distance. A striking, sweeping curve divides the space. She extends her arms in an admiration of the texture of the gray wall. The muted color, which communicates a somber tone, is punctuated by the color of the sky which sheds light on the cold, unfeeling concrete bridge in the background. The shadows cast by Emily’s pose add to the sense of mystery.

The contrast between gritty, immovable concrete and the supple human body is amplified by the pose. The limp, contorted body yields to the vertical barrier; her hair is folded under her. She is propped against a concrete barrier meant to stop three tons, dwarfed by its gravitas.

This is a bridge that extends from a populated area, across a flourishing marsh, into the edge of nature. It symbolizes our ever-expanding reach, for better or worse, into the natural world. Although the bridge leads to “nowhere,” a planned development that was stopped in its tracks by an economic recession, it will likely someday connect to a neighborhood. This further incursion of concrete and asphalt into the landscape seems inevitable. The model’s posture, although seemingly at rest, suggests an uneasy tension—stopped, but not at rest. The solid structure is an adequate metaphor for the stability that technology and development bring to our civilization.

The theme of this industrial nude art explores the human form in an unnatural environment, which can sometimes be a jarring contrast. But in Emily’s case, her form gracefully assimilates into her inhospitable surroundings. The sweeping lines of the barricade are an elegant complement to the curvature of a woman’s body. Softened by their lack of focus, the trees in the distance suggest the presence of nature at the edge of humanity’s intrusion. Emily’s human form more generally reflects the mix of the two opposing/integrating forces (yin and yang.)

Contrast this industrial nude art with black and white nude photography depicting the female nude in nature.

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