From Loring Knoblauch’s review for Collector Daily:
At a time when digital image combinations and mashups have become increasingly commonplace in contemporary photography, this exhibit takes us back more than 30 years to provide us with some historical context for our current fascinations. With the help of some MIT scientists back in the late 1970s, Nancy Burson began making computer-generated composite portraits, and much of her career since then has been spent exploring the boundaries of what faces can show us. This tightly edited show collects her innovative early works from the 1980s and early 1990s, where ideas of race, gender, and physical beauty were carefully sifted through various experimental processes and algorithms.
Burson’s smart blending of science and art provides an important foundational precedent for the digital manipulations we are seeing today. Her best works are those that used the technology to get at a truth or irony that wasn’t obviously visible, often showing us a surprising commonality that lay underneath polarized opposites or discrete individuals. Her haunting hybrids smooth out differences, collapsing visual details into more complex and sophisticated conceptual questions.