Nicole Nadeau @ Y Gallery

Next Tuesday, Work of Art contestant and up-and-coming designer-artist Nicole Nadeau opens her first solo show at Y Gallery in New York. In addition to showing her own work more and more, Nadeau also spends quality time with KNS, a design collective she co-founded. This show — "Portraits of Origin" — works on complicated themes of femininity and our reactions to and perceptions of same.

The full release:

In her first NY solo show, Nicole Nadeau explores the state awareness in a female individual under the threat of an unfulfilled call. She confronts the awe towards the ultimate realization that the body can be an unreliable, inconsistent, incoherent tool.

The work, presented in various media, poses questions over the paradox inherent in the human condition: is negation the only way to awareness? Is the acknowledgment of the unknown the only way to the known? Is the loss of something the only way to perceive its value?

As a young woman, the artist wanders through these themes, playing the language of femininity, but pushing it to its most extreme place, where it’s cut to its most original role -reproduction- and its most original fear: not being able to. Graphic nods to physical abnormalities and to their distorting power are treated as an element of terror. The question is raised: if creation is a matter of life, is the inability to create a matter of death?

“When your body fails you, your awareness of it is heightened, and your closeness to being a woman is awakened” says Nicole Nadeau.

Portraits of Origins haunts us with the reminiscence of female’s most primitive role in society, consequently re-framing the unsettling pressures that pervades contemporary womanhood.

Featuring sculptural elements, photographic prints and mixed media prints, "Portraits of Origin" re-interprets the meaning of the female universe, and revisits the significant of relationships, both to others and to one own, to a mind threatened by infertility.

With this show, Nicole continues use in form and nature as she investigates the darker sides of the human experience.

The show is one night only, 6-10pm on Tuesday, February 7th.

Industry Insiders: Nicole Nadeau, Art Star

Nicole Nadeau doesn’t understand why the art world reacted so vehemently to Work of Art — Bravo’s reality TV show in which artists competed for a chance to have their work shown at the Brooklyn Museum. After all, art is meant to provoke, and competing in the show was “an experiment,” she says. Nadeau grew up in small town in Connecticut, where she played sports, danced, and dreamed of becoming a dolphin trainer. But she was always creative. Her father, a fourth generation craftsman, had a woodshop in their garage where she began experimenting with art objects at an early age. Rocking her signature beehive hairdo, she met us at the High Line, where a Bravo publicist monitored us on speakerphone as we discussed the highs and lows of reality television, and having her work judged by Jerry Saltz.

Background: In school I focused on the arts and sciences. When it came to college I knew that I wanted to do sculpture, installation and design, so I went to RIT and did an engineering/design type of thing. Then I transferred to Parsons for product design.

After school: I started out at an architecture firm because I wanted to see the larger scale of a building or a whole room instead of the objects that are in a space. Then I started KNS Design, an experimental collective that is a conversation between art and design. If you really want to be an artist you just have to go for it. You have to make things possible for yourself and break boundaries of what people think art and design is.

Alternate career path: It would be very creative. An anthropologist or traveler of the world doing archaeological digs. Something involving experiments.

On her art: A lot of my art is inspired by nature and geometry, because I try to add harmony and balance to it. But I keep it simple and open so there is a point of seduction.

On designing for Ralph Lauren: I love doing design consultancy because creativity is my strong suit. It’s fun to be brought in and give it a certain direction, or use materials I might not be able to find in my studio.

Favorite artists: There are so many. Tobias Wong inspired me a lot when I was in school.

On the High Line: I love the High Line. Not too many people know the story of it. Tenth Avenue used to be called Death Avenue because the trains used to kill people on the street. There’s a certain sense of life and death to it. They raised it up so people wouldn’t die.

Favorite fashion designers: Rodarte. Chanel. Issey Miyake. I really like Tom Ford because he’s a Renaissance man. And I really love that movie he made, A Single Man. Every scene was so beautiful.

On reality television: I actually don’t own a television, but I find reality television interesting because it’s a product of our time. It’s a system, there are archetypes, and at the end you really don’t have control over what goes on.

On being judged by Jerry Saltz: Pretty epic. I love reading all of his reviews in New York magazine. He’s very approachable and I can identify with the things that he says. It was so magical to have people critique your work everyday and have a gallery show every day.

On the Work of Art experience: I did it all in good fun without really thinking about the repercussions. I wanted to see what the constrictions and control on the materials and time would have on my work, and if it could produce a certain level of creativity. I found the response to it to be a little bit conservative. I understand their point, but at the same time I’m like, Have an open mind and explore this a little bit.

Did the best person win WOA? No because I should have won.