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  • Artist Statement
  • Nicole Awai (bio)

I think of myself as a “perceptual” artist. I am interested in all interaction as a transformative experience, social and material, that creates a more acute awareness of HERE—our present/presence; art that transgresses or transcends location; that navigates a path around and beyond identity.

There is a fluid, liquid, and emergent transition between the 2 and 3 dimensional, between what is painting and what is sculpture. Nothing is fixed. Conjoined figures are always negotiating space, position, and means of conveyance. Design motifs act as incursions from one territory into another. Resin is at once liquid and solid. Nail polish is product, paint, and signifier. Paper is dormant and flat then it is molded and active.

There has long been the implication of some form of oozing materiality in my work. The ooze has been substantially black in color. I have come to understand that this black oozing materiality is in actuality a site of confluence—of our histories, our physical existence, and the elasticity of time, space, and place

These works are occurrences, physical and temporal, immediate and illusive, coming together and coming apart all at once. [End Page 943]

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Nicole Awai, Go Go Green Compression with Black Ooze (2008) Graphite, acrylic paint, and nail polish on paper (38” x 50”) Collection of the Kemper Museum

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Nicole Awai, Dream On— Happy Ending … (2011) Nail polish, polyurethane resin, nylon netting, metal fence post, metal flashing, construction foam, and wood (53” x 58” x 27”)

Courtesy of the artist

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Nicole Awai, Vista 3: Emerging Properties A (2013) Acrylic paint, nail polish, resin, vinyl, filter charcoal, construction foam, and graphite on synthetic paper (24” x 26”)

Courtesy of the artist

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Nicole Awai, Go Go Gone (2011) Polyurethane resin, cotton linter fiber, wire mesh, wood, paper, acrylic paint, and construction foam (5’ x 4’ x 6’) Collection of the Kemper Museum

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Nicole Awai

NICOLE AWAI, who lives and works in Brooklyn, NY, was born in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, in 1966. She is a graduate of the University of South Florida, Tampa, where she also completed the MFA (1996) in multimedia art, specializing in painting and printmaking. In 1997, she also studied at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. She has exhibited her work in various art venues, including Art Forum (London, UK), Museum of the Americas (DC), the Museum of Contemporary Art (PR), Biennale di Caribe Aruba, Po Kim Art Gallery (NY), Susan Inglett Gallery (NY), Lehmann Maupin Gallery, Brooklyn Museum, the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art (MO), The Vilcek Foundation (NY), Busan Biennale, Busan Museum of Modern Art, (Korea), Alice Yard (Trinidad), and Biennial of Ceramics in Contemporary Art (Italy). In 2005, she was featured as an artist in the I.P.O. series at the Whitney Museum of American Art. In 2013, she received an Art Matters Grant, after having been awarded the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant in 2012. She is currently employed as Critic for the Yale School of Art.



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