Nicole Cherubini, Kissbite


The Gallery at 1GAP, Richard Meier 'On Prospect Park'
Exhibition, January 10 - April 24, 2014

Nicole Cherubini’s exhibition kissbite, surveys the artist’s box sculptures created from 2008 - 2013. These glaze and clay combines bear similarities to paintings in their geometry and relationship to the wall. Cherubini derives their shape from the factory cartons that package the moist, fifty-pound blocks of clay. Despite being fired and glazed, some of the clay surfaces still retain the marks of their corrugated containers.    

In recent pieces, Cherubini builds beyond the central motif using plywood, pine, and mdf board, to create pedestals and oversized frames to couple with the clay. Her arrangement of elements brings our awareness to pre-modern European art, when convention required painters and sculptors to work strictly within their mediums. Then, clay was a transitional tool within a larger sculptural process, likely ending in a bronze statue. Objects made solely of clay were limited to porcelain figurines, tableware, housing fixtures, and other practical uses. It was not until American ceramicist George Ohr referred to his twisted, warped vases, as “art-pottery” in the 19th century, that clay and glaze were treated as two separate entities. Ohr’s influence on Cherubini is most evident in her crushed work, her reductive, mashed pots. These shapes are made when she flattens the box; like Ohr, she trades usefulness for gestural expression.

Cherubini’s approach to color is highlighted in a series of small drawings where saturated paint and ink have been applied to stark, white paper. Whether spotting, pouring, or neatly covering any of her surfaces, her palette can range from punch red to earthy terracotta. Her hard edges and bright colors connote popular culture, while the unglazed terracotta connects back to Earthworks and the clay experimentations of Charles Simonds and Ana Mendieta.

About the Artist

Born in Boston in 1970, Nicole Cherubini lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. She received her BFA in Ceramics from RISD and her MFA in Visual Arts from New York University. Subsequently, she attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. This past summer, her work was exhibited in Vessels at the Horticulture Society of New York, which was followed by a solo show, In and out of Weeks, at Tracy Williams Gallery in Chelsea. Her work is in the permanent collections of The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, The Cranbrook Museum, and numerous private and public collections. In October 2014 Cherubini will hold a solo exhibition at the Pérez Art Museum in Miami.