A Whole New View: Nowinski’s Grotesque Beauty

"(in) Habitat (Turnipship)," 2017, photopolymer intaglio on Hahnemuhle copperplate, 16” x 20”.


ARTIST PROFILE
BERKSHIRE ART MUSEUM
159 E. MAIN STREET
NORTH ADAMS, MASSACHUSETTS
JUNE THROUGH SEPTEMBER
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
MAGGIE NOWINSKI INSTALLATION ARTIST
MAGGIENOWINSKI.ORG
by Cameron Finch

Viewing Maggie Nowinski’s “wHoles” is akin to studying the basic building blocks of yourself. Look into a microscope at your own skin. What might you see? Could those millions of cells inhabiting your internal spaces transform into braided rings of yarn, hair scrunchies or floating jellyfish hoods? Deceptively simplistic on the surface, these complex circular discs we call cells are the models for Nowinski’s newest large-scale drawing installation, which will exhibit at the Berkshire Art Museum in North Adams, Mass. this June through September.

What was once a spontaneous sketch Nowinski created in the summer of 2016 quickly became a recurring image in her drawing practice. Always fascinated by the intricacies of the human body and its various systems, the simple “wHoles” design allows Nowinski to explore the conceptual, emotional and personal make-ups of these larger bodily processes. Each wHole is a unit in itself: a breath, an organism, a beat of time.

Her upcoming installation at the Berkshire Art Museum will consist of a wall collage, combining Technicolor “wHoles” layered over their shadows for an incredible total of 525 cellular structures; a number signifying the many months the artist has lived so far. This detail instantly transforms the exhibit into a quiet meditation on time and aging and explores the paradox that within a single space, we are both living and dying, losing and gaining, all at once. “…My life feels in a fixed state of transformation, holding unanswerable longings alongside fulfilled moments,” Nowinski said.

Through the mass of “wHoles,” she measures her life passing; the collection becomes a record of her life experience. “[The ‘wHoles’] embody a kind of celebratory quality in their color and quantity while also seeming to be somewhat raw, partially empty and most with irregularities that I think of as scar tissue. They float and soar directionless — collective and individual,” Nowinski said.

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