December 29, 2022.
This past September 14-17, had the pleasure of participating in the Slow Exposures Photography Festival in Zebulon, Georgia and created a pop-up exhibition in a bookstore (A Novel Experience), with my dear friend and fellow artist Felicia E. Gail. I have participated in previous Slow Exposures exhibitions, but never had the chance to visit or create a pop-up. We constructed a collaborative site-specific installation that included photography, poetry, objects, and a zine.
Felicia E. Gail (Georgia) and Noelle McCleaf (Florida) coalesce through images, text, and tactile communications. Like two tin cans connected through a string, we receive transmissions through reverberations of sound and space through light and air. These images guide our sense of place beyond the lines of a map. The horizon drifts in and out of clarity, and the South becomes imaginable through familiar objects and the severity of location. Reverberations includes printed photographs of variable sizes, a site-specific installation of objects in a library, and a printed takeaway diagramming a visual exchange between artists.
In October of 2022, two Images from Erma and Milly were exhibited at Xavier University Art Gallery in Cincinnati, Ohio for the Society of Photographic Educators Women's Caucus Exhibition in 2022: Searching for Life: Regrowth & Display.
WE, the Exhibit 2022 installment for FotoFocus Biennial, World Record
It’s time for some new narratives without smoothing out our differences and homogenizing an individual’s experience.
The Society for Photographic Education’s Women’s Caucus perpetually reinvents the definition of the presumptive “photographic document” and recalls the many interpersonal relationships within their female identifying role, identities, and responsibilities. This ongoing photographic and cinematic experience creates and examines the personal, and transcends reflections of dedications to the recollection of the female human existence. WE, the Women’s Caucus have a collective story to share— a story about bringing life to our struggles, repairing damaged connections, and finding strength in solidarity and isolation.
The 2022 installment of WE, the Women’s Caucus Exhibition responds to the Foto Focus 2022 World Record Biennial through an international juried call to women working with light and photography to process and reveal the adversities in life they have experienced. This dialog of re-growth and display through our shared search is not limited to current works, it is a diverse collection of global, timeless submissions that penetrate the life of each artist selected. Together the works invited by juror Deborah Bright and curated by Jordanne Renner prove to dismantle and expose a cyclical gaze. Historically the photograph is dominated by the male gaze, in this exhibition WC members break through these barriers in photography giving opportunity for the female gaze to stare back at the male dominated world and all of its viewers.
March 10th, 2022.
June 18, 2021.
September 12, 2020.
Earlier this year I was invited to create images for A Yellow Rose Project founded by Meg Griffiths and Frances Jakubek.
A Yellow Rose Project is a photographic collaboration of responses, reflections, and reactions to the 19th Amendment from over one hundred women across the United States. August 18, 2020, marks the centennial of the 19th Amendment. It was on that day, 100 years ago, women wearing yellow roses stood shoulder to shoulder in Tennessee awaiting the roll call of men that would cast their votes for or against a woman’s right to a voice in government.--A Yellow Rose Project
I created a series of five still life images to honor figures in the Women's Suffrage movement called Altars for Suffragettes.
Altars for Suffragettes honors five women who marched, protested, or gave their lives to the fight for women’s suffrage in the early 20th century. An altar is a religious structure where offerings are given to gods or goddesses, dating back to countless historical faiths. The still life, similar to the altar, offers a collection of deliberately placed objects charged with mystery and meaning. Each photograph contains a combination of carefully composed artifacts specific to the suffragette’s story, elevating the sacrifices, struggles, and triumphs they made for the good of all.
Visit A Yellow Rose Project to see the diverse collection of amazing work from women artists.
April 22nd, 2020.
On Earth Day, I curated Earth Mother/Mother Earth for Melissa Kreider's platform Don't-Smile, a space devoted to showcasing photography by women artists.
"On this Earth Day, April, 22, 2020, Earth Mother/Mother Earth elevates images of women, animals, and the land during an era of ecological peril. Our ancestral roles as healers, water-gatherers, creators, and givers of life, make us inherently tied to the Earth and her ecosystems. We also share in the oppression of our bodies, voices, and creations. The images in Earth/Mother Mother Earth come from women artists of diverse backgrounds and varied artistic approaches. Grandmother, gardener, or goddess, these photographs celebrate women and our reverence for this planet we call home."
--Noelle McCleaf, curator
February 27th, 2020.
Interview with Hamidah Glasgow for Strange Fire Collective. Her questions were extremely thoughtful and challenging, creating a compelling dialogue between artist and curator.
HG: I'd like to talk a bit about your portrayal of Evie Lou and Laura Jane's rejection of traditional standards of beauty and their place in the wildness of the land. In our culture, these are both delicate matters as adherence to beauty standards go deep and permeates our lives. Men that disavow male standards of beauty are generally seen as rugged and individualist. Women who do the same are typically regarded as "letting themselves go" or other derogatory terms. How did you approach these issues, and what did you think about while making the images of them?
NM: Evie Lou and Laura Jane are storytellers that source their spirituality from the natural world. Evie (my mother) is a trained survivalist, meaning she practices primitive skills such as animal tracking, fire building, and sustainability. She spends much of her spare time volunteering for a local wildlife center. Laura Jane's grandmother descends from the Blackfoot Native American tribe, and she worked for many years as a hospice nurse. They both share the neo-pagan belief that women go through three life stages--the stages of maiden, mother, and crone. The word crone has been used throughout most of history in a derogatory way to describe an old woman or a witch. However, they fully embrace the term—Laura has a tattoo of triple moons on her forearm that symbolizes this idea.
I was first drawn to photograph them because I spent many hours with them, listening to their stories, in awe of their carefree nature and charisma. After we'd chat for an hour or so, I would ask them to re-create a moment from one of their stories, or simply walk around and photograph the land that Laura lives on in Myakka City, Florida. After many of our conversations, I began to transcribe our conversations as a source for picture-making. I also wanted to bring their voices into the project. One of our most intense conversations was about the death of mothers. They both agreed that you don't fully come into yourself as a woman until your mother dies. This was a shocking and honest revelation since my mother is such a dominant force in my life.
During one of our conversations, Laura Jane said she saw her divine reflection in my mother (Evie Lou), so I looked for a mirror around the property to create an image of Laura with my mother's reflection in it. This became the image titled Divine Reflection. I photographed them participating in rituals, healing ceremonies, and created portraits of them in the landscape. As a photographer and feminist, I found their story to be refreshing and unique. So many women spend their lives attempting to retain an impossible youthfulness, and they have found a source of power and strength in their years.
Read the full interview here: http://www.strangefirecollective.com/2020-features#/qa-noelle-mccleaf/
June 5th - July 31st, 2019.
Diffusion, curated by Lori Vrba and Blue Mitchell opened at the SE Center for Photography. Images in the exhibition are curated from the pages of Diffusion IX. The exhibition opens Friday, July 5 and runs through August with the opening reception on Friday, August 2. See the full show online here https://www.sec4p.com/diffusion-ss/. Much of the work from the exhibition is also up for sale on Artsy, including my image Mary of the Sea, from the series Familial Totems. The image is made from a daguerrotype and tarpon scales, composed on a flatbed scanner. Collectors can purchase work from the exhibition here: https://www.artsy.net/se-center.
June 5th-July 1st, 2019.
Rock Bass was shown in Ft. Collins, Colorado at the Downton Artery in conjunction with Center for Fine Art Photography. Life of Water was juried by Jennifer Shaw. The photograph was selected for the Director's Award from Hamidah Glasgow. About the image: Rock Bass represents my mother’s inherent love for fishing, something that was passed down to her from her mother, who taught her how to catch, clean, and cook—a strenuous but rewarding ritual. Most of my work is shot on medium format color film, as I enjoy the rich natural tones, the film grain, and the sharpness of the image.
November 16th, 2018-May 17th, 2019.
DocuFlorida II: Projections and Prints with featured artist, Noelle McCleaf included an open call with digital submissions projected with photographs by Florida-based photographer, Noelle McCleaf. The exhibition addressed the environment in rural and urban landscapes, and may offer an interpretive lens focused on socio-cultural and socio-spatial conditions of natural and built environments of our larger Southeastern U.S. region, an area deeply informed by river systems, gulf waters, and their associated industries and economic enterprises. DocuFlorida began in 2017 as an annual exhibition of projected photographic images focused on the current environment and landscapes of Florida, the Gulf Coast, and the Southeast Region of the U.S. It is intended as a site-specific iteration of Documerica, the photographic documentary project that was sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency in the 1970s. The exhibition was on view at the T.T. Wentworth, Jr. Florida State Museum from November 16, 2018 through May 17, 2019 and is in partnership with Pensacola Museum of Art, University of West Florida. The exhibition is co-curated by: Lowell Bassett (Chief Curator, UWF Historic Trust), Felicia E. Gail, (Curator of Exhibitions, Pensacola Museum of Art) and Valerie George, (Professor of Art, UWF Department of Art).
October 12th-December 14th, 2018.
Kindred: Recent Photographs by Noelle McCleaf was exhibited at the Richard and Barbara Basch Gallery at the Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida in 2018. The exhibition was curated by Mark Ormond and included sixteen large-scale archival pigmented prints from A Bee in Her Bonnet and Evie Lou and Laura Jane, spanning over ten years of photographic work. A signed and editioned risograph zine was offered to the first one-hundred guests, featuring intimate interviews with Evie Lou and Laura Jane. The panel discussion included Felicia E. Gail, Writer, Artist and Curator, Thomas Carabasi, Chair of Photography and Imaging at the Ringling College of Art and Design, and Zoe Ann Nicholson, Feminist Activist, Speaker, and Author, known for her role in the campaign for the Equal Rights Amendment.