The research involved in the artworks represented here by Patricia Lois Nuss investigates an artistic process that is motivated by personal history, but focuses on the role, affect, and history of various female idols represented in art, religion, and modern American popular media. An alienated relationship with a mother figure in her own life as well as an over saturation of these idols in the media surrounding her has led Nuss to these photographic studies.
In the series, The Madonnas, female models are documented as they are simultaneously asked by the artist to think of a range of personal but nonspecific moments from her life, the women were asked not to share their thoughts, only the moment spent thinking. The facial expressions associated with these thoughts take on a universal role. The women were photographed in a small, dark, silent, room from a close proximity to the camera lens placed slightly above their eyes. This series utilized a traditional, controlled method of film studio photography, emphasizing the importance of the singular captured moment.
Through this series, the models are asked to procure an intimacy with the photographer and in consequence with the viewer. An honest intimacy with models is rarely a focus in the images we see of them in the media constantly, and hence can create a notion of voyeurism for the viewer.