On Friday, September 16, the Vilcek Foundation unveiled Almost Undone, a mixed-media installation by Trinidadian-born artist Nicole Awai. Guests at the premiere’s reception were privy not only to a first look at the pieces in this most recent collection of works, but also had the opportunity to meet and talk with the artist about her inspiration and process.
In Almost Undone, Ms. Awai features drawings from an earlier series, entitled Specimen from Local Ephemera</em>; these she uses as visual anchors for the new works here, which give the effect of suspending, emerging—even escaping—their wall-bound origins, symbolizing the transition of Ms. Awai’s work from two-dimensional drawings to three-dimensional sculptures.
Ms. Awai is known to draw upon multiple sources, and resources, as motivation for her creations. Popular media and design, the history of art, a curiosity about the human migratory experience, and much more, all come into play in her imagination, and, ultimately, finished works. In Almost Undone, for example, she incorporates materials as varied as cast and sprayed paper, resin, plastic, nail polish, and clay. 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.
For many of the guests, conversations begun in the gallery continued on the foundation’s roof terrace, where the cool night air and cityscape provided the perfect backdrop to more in-depth discussions about the exhibition and this fascinating artist.
About the Artist
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.