Hanging by a Thread

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Nicole Margaretten has had many adventures in art and foreign countries, but it has also been a life touched by illness. The marks are not always visible, but her encounters will illness have made themselves known through her artwork.

This piece, Civilization I (Without Medication), was done in hospital and the pure white background recalls the clinical purity of the examination room. A strange city grows on the surface like a mold or, more likely, a colony of bacteria. In the foreground a diseased buffalo hangs uncertainly. The colony continues its growth without malice, and the bison does not seem to connect it's suffering with it.

Although they were drawn without reference, the buffalo is remarkably reminiscent of prehistoric bison such as the Two Bison fromthe cave at Le Tuc d'Audoubert, France. Like bulls, bison can be seen as symbolic of strength and courage, prowess on the field. Margaretten's bison, however, hangs suspended. Removed from its power base and subjected to forces beyond it's control. The heaviness of his hooves emphasize the absence of earth.

Despite the signs of decay, it has a certain solidity of perseverance. One has the impression that this bison will not be swallowed by the forces at work.

Margaretten is currently working on a series of paintings about microbes and a mixed media installation designed to immerse viewers with sound, image and colored lighting. Her work has been shown in solo and group exhibitions including the Tufts University Art Gallery, the Boston Conservatory, Resonance FM, broadcasting from London, England, and the Fort Point Artist Community Gallery. December 2005 she exhibited the sculpture Recollecting Zeena at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston which allowed listeners to intimately hear testimonials regarding the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

The above article title contains a link to Nicole's website, so take a look and enjoy.


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