While attending the University of Michigan in 1974, Niagara and Mike Kelley formed Destroy All Monsters. The band, known to fans as DAM, was active until 1985, earning international recognition due largely to the presence of former members of The Stooges and the MC5. Later, she fronted the supergroup Dark Carnival (with Stooges guitarist Ron Asheton and his brother Scott Asheton, Stooges drummer).
Niagara utilized art school experience in creating album and promotional art for Destroy All Monsters, Dark Carnival, and other acts. Combining collage and pop iconography, Niagara's style began to took shape, and by the early 1990's she presented her work in galleries and cafes around Detroit.
With critical recognition for her painting established, Niagara teamed up with the Detroit gallery CPop in 1996. Her first exhibits "All Men Are Cremated Equal" (1996) and "Faster Niagara, Kill...Kill" (1997) were breakout shows that fostered national recognition. Juxtapoz (art journal) heralded her as "The Queen Of Detroit." Successful exhibits in other cities followed, including Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Sydney, Tokyo and others.
"The Niagara Girl" -- in many guises -- represented feminist swagger with drop-dead-gorgeous looks and a dangerous demeanor. She offered hard-boiled, tough talking women who would rather dispatch a man than put up with rude antics. Her bold, colorful, comic-strip-styled dames in various scenes of malfeasence parallel the modern tone of Callie Khoury's Thelma and Louise. Common ancestors include pin-up girls like Bettie Page and the dark side of 40's and 50's film icons such as Bette Davis, Lauren Bacall and Jane Greer.
In 2002, Niagara's work veered from gun-toting femmes fatale to the lush imagery of her "Opium Series." Decidedly feminine, the violence evaporates to reveal world-weary beauties shown amidst swirling opium smoke. Intricate Chinese patterns and applique contribute to Asian flavor that pervades these pictures.
In 2006, a career retrospective of her art and music was chronicled in a book titled, "Beyond The Pale" published by 9mm Books.
Also in 2006, Niagara opened her first UK exhibition at Richard Goodall Gallery in Manchester England. She returned to Goodall Gallery in 2008 with "The Good, The Bad, & The Beautiful."
In 2007, with the avant garde couturier Hysteric Glamour, she launched a clothing line to coincide with her art exhibition in Tokyo.
In 2008, Outre Gallery in Australia created silkscreened, limited-edition prints to coincide with her sold out musical perfomances in Sydney and Melbourne.
Niagara collaborated with Vans in 2008 to produce the Vans Vault Series featuring seven unique styles of hip urban footwear. These debuted in Paris.
In 2009 Niagara returned to the stage full time. With backing from the Australian band, The Hitmen, Niagara held performances in Australia and Tokyo, Europe, and the US.
Niagara currently lives near Detroit, a place close to her heart.
Available Works By Niagra.
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