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Artist Profile

Nicole Mauser

Studio Resident (2007-08)

Installation, Mixed Media, Multimedia, Painting, Video, Writer
Statement of Work

My work oscillates between painting, collage, and video installation to break down conventions of pictorial space, color and light. Chroma plays a crucial role in collapsing images and layers to destabilize perception. This work takes shape in an age that extolls transparency, both commercially and politically, an idealistic promise given that we regularly navigate smokescreens and advertisements where no center exists. I subsequently construct pieces to hold up a mirror to the myth of transparency, creating work that occupies a curious suspension of time where deliberate slowness of time-based media and the instantaneousness of a mark are fused. Through the mechanics of collage, then, I specifically abstract pictorial space (and thus ask the viewer to look more closely and slowly) in a process that is ultimately rooted in the ambiguity of images coming into being rather than having arrived.

Ultimately, the picture plane is an index of a thoughtful and deliberate process that is nonetheless structured to derail somewhere between point A and B. These derailments and erasures are generative failures incorporated to become traces and veils giving the sensation of space billowing forward and receding. In newer video work I investigate these failures through the rhetoric of light, drawing on hologram color palettes, in particular, to investigate spaces where reflection and transparency happen at once. As I intervene on the connections between painting and digital processes, I layer the transmission of light to create stutters within the image. Doing so forges tension in/and duality to assert materiality while delaying legibility in ways that heighten the visceral impact for the viewer. The way I approach image making does not beg the question why forms begin and exist, but how they will play out.

Currently, I’m working on a series of paintings based on holograms. To translate color embedded in a reflective surface and light (additive) into the static hues of pigment (subtractive) is to engage in painting as paradox. Subtle shifts and gradients slow down perception. Nuances of surface, mark and intensity become a durational experience of abstract color fields to immerse the body through the eyes. Texture, surface and depth of these paintings convey residues of the hand yet evoke the uncanny feeling of digital screens.

I translate observation and research on holograms into color palettes. The compressed space and durability of holograms take many cultural forms: fibers woven into currency, ID cards, credit cards and even string theory. They represent “authenticity” and nostalgia for futurism as well as a mirror of our current complex reality. My research also includes Miyoko Ito’s overlooked abstract Imagist paintings, Joseph Cornell's "Rose Hobart" (1936) experimental film, James Turrell’s works; writing such as Maggie Nelson's "Bluets" and Julia Kristeva's essay, "Giotto's Blue." Above all my interest in color fields are both digital and analog. My work connects the affect of light to Photoshop and to physical gestures driven by perceptual and physical color.

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The way I approach image making does not beg the question why forms begin and exist, but how they will play out.

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