Dates: Saturday, September 17th, 2011 – Saturday, October 29th, 2011
Location: 167 East 73rd Street, New York, NY 10021
Hours: Wednesday – Saturday, Noon – 6pm, or by appointment
Opening: Friday, September 16th, 2011, 6pm – 9pm (RSVP required)
Press Contact: Anne Schruth; firstname.lastname@example.org
An artist finds her footing on liminal terrain
Nicole Awai unveils mixed-media installation at the Vilcek Foundation Gallery
Premiering September 17th at the Vilcek Foundation Gallery, in
New York City, is Almost Undone, a new installation by mixed-media artist Nicole Awai.
Featuring drawings from an earlier series by the Trinidadian native, entitled Specimens from
Local Ephemera, the drawings in this new exhibition will serve as visual anchors for emergent
pieces that seem to suspend, exude⎯even escape⎯their wall-bound origins, symbolizing the
transition of Ms. Awai’s work from one dimension into the next.
Local Ephemera, which began as a series of preparatory drawings for a sculpture Ms. Awai
presented at the 2003 Biennial of Ceramic in Contemporary Art in Italy, was later developed by
the artist into a stand-alone series of works. Occupying a liminal space, these drawings depict
various artifacts, both contemporary and historical, to reveal a world constantly in flux⎯the
world of in between and inside out. It’s a dynamic plane of shifting perception, but one framed
within a technical drawing format, thus lending it structure while weaving themes often found
in Ms. Awai’s other work⎯of duality, location, and cultural reprocessing.
In all her works, Ms. Awai draws upon multiple sources for inspiration⎯from popular media and
design to the history of art and a curiosity about the human migratory experience. Almost
Undone is no exception. In this new work, she incorporates materials as varied as cast and
sprayed paper, resin, plastic, nail polish, clay⎯even a telephone pole. The results are bold,
complex three-dimensional structures, which seem to pull, stretch, and tear from the wall, and
the memory of their two-dimensional predecessors.
Of Ms. Awai’s new installation, art historian Courtney J. Martin said, “Employing elements like nail varnish, and by crafting new surfaces, Nicole Awai’s works on paper and sculpture offer a fantastical, yet studied, take on the traditional mediums. This new body of work shows off her instinctual understanding of form and color, adding a thought provoking extension to her practice.”
Ms. Awai earned her Master’s Degree in Multimedia Art from the University of South Florida. She
now lives and works in Brooklyn, New York, and currently serves as Critic at 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 2008 Busan Biennale in Korea,
Infinite Island: Contemporary Caribbean Art (2007), and Open House: Working in Brooklyn; 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.
The Vilcek Foundation was established in 2000 by Jan and Marica Vilcek, immigrants from the
former Czechoslovakia. The mission of the Foundation, to honor the contributions of foreignborn
scholars and artists living in the United States, was inspired by the couple’s careers in
biomedical science and art history, respectively, as well as their personal experiences and
appreciation for the opportunities they received as newcomers to this country. The Foundation
hosts events to promote the work of immigrants, and awards annual prizes to prominent
immigrant biomedical scientists and artists who make outstanding contributions to American
To learn more about the Vilcek Foundation, visit www.vilcek.org.