Department of Art and Art Professions

Washington Square Windows: Nicole Awai

 

Nicole Awai

Mi Papi, Dream On - Happy Ending...

 

Curated by Michael Cohen

September 12 - December 18, 2012

opening reception: Wednesday, September 12, 6 - 8 pm


The installation was created specifically for the 80wse windows, blending themes and components from two ongoing series of Awai’s work; drawing from ‘Specimens from Local Ephemera’ and painting and sculpture elements from ‘The Good Blacks’.

In the smaller window to the left is the Practice/ Ritual space. In it one finds what appears to be remnants of a recent event (scattered fruit and candies, feathers, a tin can with a cigar) with resonant historical events above such as images of Indians in the New World wallpaper. This and other (fences, etc.) mysterious ephemera submerge and bob on a thick, three-dimensional slick of Black Ooze.

In the longer window to the right is the Process/ Time space. The Black Ooze appears to be on the move in these panels. It has saturated and encrusted the fencing mesh providing an abject but powerful structure. According to the artist “The Black Ooze is simultaneously a site of creation and destruction and literally is the ‘product’ that we all will become with the passage of time that powers the world.”

The installation incorporates various materials including canvas, resin, construction foam, aluminum and polyester mesh, metal angle line, acrylic paint and nail polish. The names of three brands of nail polish inspired this installation conceptually and formally, Awai has been interested in the methods and patterns of naming the colors and materially, nail polish as a painting medium. The ethnic changes in the names and composition of women’s beauty details like nail polish are seen by Awai as map guides to the trajectory of American metropolitan socio-ethnic evolution.

 

 

Awai was awarded the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant in 2011. She earned her Master’s Degree in Multimedia Art from the University of South Florida. A native of Trinidad, she lives and works in Brooklyn, New York, and currently serves as a Critic for the Yale School of Art. Her work has been included in several seminal exhibitions, including the first Greater New York: New Art in New York Now, at P.S. 1/MoMA (2000), the Biennale of Ceramic in Contemporary Art (2003) the 2008 Busan Biennale in Korea (‘The Americas’ component curated by Michael Cohen And Nancy Barton), Infinite Island: Contemporary Caribbean Art (2007), and Open House: Working in Brooklyn (2004), the latter two held at the Brooklyn Museum. Ms. Awai was also a featured artist in the 2005 I.P.O. series at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Last fall Awai had a solo exhibition, Almost Undone at the Vilcek Foundation. This fall Awai is a featured speaker at the Kemper Museum of Art for Be Inspired! Kemper at the Crossroads and she is also recreating a wall drawing for the Biennale of Aruba.