Materials for the Arts, a program of the New York Department of Cultural Affairs, will present Feared & Revered, a solo exhibition of multimedia works by artist Nicole Awai, on display until August 2022 at the Materials for the Arts Gallery. Awai has been the MFTA artist in residence since February 2022.
Awai’s new body of work was inspired by her reflections on the current precarious state of women’s rights and the women’s agency in the United States. Her thoughts triggered her memory of a female character from Caribbean folklore known as Soucouyant. The character, a woman of middle age or older, sheds her skin at night and transforms into a bloodsucking fireball. Unmoved and instead intrigued by the strength of this incredible figure since she was a child, Awai is inspired to examine the suppression, distortion and historical yet ongoing commodification of African women, peoples and cultures in the Americas at large.
Feared & Rivered is marginally a meditation on the state and stages of Soucouyant’s transformation through a process of abstraction. Through the incorporation of vintage frames, plexiglass, fabric, beads, acrylic paints, decorative paper and other objects found by Materials for the Arts, Awai has created a series of works, some glassy and some soft, that seem to blend the walls of the MFTA Gallery. His works vary in color, as Feared and Revered 2 features predominantly black and dark red with bits of white and yellow layered with plexiglass and paint, while Sucking Abstraction 1 features bright neon colors.
“Over the past two decades, Materials for the Arts has provided so many materials for me as a contemporary artist,” said Nicole Awai, MFTA artist-in-residence. “I’ve shopped at Materials for the Arts through other arts organizations, nonprofits, and residency organizations – and I’d come and shop for about an hour – but having all this space all to yourself is so awesome and overwhelming at times, but a such a beautiful blessing. “
“Nicole Awai’s works of art imply a delicate and dynamic poetry of materials. From organic forms, to narrow plexiglass lines, to grounded objects, her work shows us the possible conversation in the changing arena of art”, he stated John Cloud Kaiser, MFTA Gallery Director. “As she gazed at the wide variety of materials at the MFTA, certain objects, such as a looped piece of metal from an old gate, would have captured her attention and her memories of her and be incorporated into the stories of these works. complicated and colorful art “.
The works in Feared & Revered were created during Awai’s residency at Materials for the Arts. As part of the MFTA Artist-in-Residence program, artists receive free studio space and access to supplies in MFTA’s 35,000-square-foot warehouse of donated materials to incorporate into their solo exhibit.
Materials for the arts
Artist Nicole Awai
Feared and revered by Nicole Awai
Exhibition on display: June 30, 2022 – August 2022
(Monday – Friday, 10:00 – 16:00)
Where is it:
Materials for the Art Gallery
33-00 Northern Blvd, 3rd floor
Long Island City, NY 11101
Established in 2012, the MFTA Artist-in-Residence program celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. In June, MFTA hosted The Sustainable Art Show, an anniversary exhibit featuring the work of 19 former artists in residence at COPE NYC in the historic Pfizer building in Brooklyn.
About Nicole Awai
Nicole Awai, born in Port of Spain-Trinidad and Tobago, creates multimedia works that infuse found objects and non-traditional mediums like nail polish, cast vinyl, and found doll parts. Her process is often influenced by social, historical and economic issues in the Americas. Awai received a Masters in Multimedia Art from the University of South Florida in 1996 and attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 1997. She received the Joan Mitchell Painters & Sculptors Grant in 2011 and an Art Matters Grant in 2012.
Awai’s installations, paintings and sculptures have been exhibited at MoMA PS1, Harlem Studio Museum, Brooklyn Museum, Bronx Museum of the Arts, Queens Museum, Vilcek Foundation, Sperone Westwater, Lesley Heller Gallery , at the High Line, at ArtsWestchester, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art and Busan Museum of Art in South Korea. From 2009 to 2015, Awai was a critic at the Yale School of Art in the Department of Painting and Engraving. He is currently a lecturer in the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Texas at Austin. Awai is represented by the Barbara Davis Gallery in Houston, Texas.
Information on materials for the arts (MFTA)
A New York Department of Cultural Affairs program, with support from the Department of Education and Friends of Materials for the Arts, MFTA is New York’s largest reuse center that supports nonprofits with arts programs, schools public and city agencies. On average, MFTA collects over 1.5 million pounds of supplies each year that it provides free of charge to member organizations. In addition to providing materials, MFTA has an Artist-in-Residence program and organizes public events that include gallery openings and community workshops. Learn more at www.materialsforhearts.org.