Retrospective Scraps: A Survey of Work by Nicola Ginzel
Nicola Ginzel: My Bed is Made of Atoms at Cathouse FUNeral
October 10 to November 22, 2015
260 Richardson Street (at Kingsland Ave.)
Brooklyn, 646 729 4682
Nicola Ginzel’s recent solo exhibition at Brooklyn’s Cathouse FUNeral featured a considerable amount of small-scale mixed media objects and embroidered works on paper. Occasionally framed but mostly hung directly on the wall, these works were shown in close proximity and at an unusual height. Allowing only a tall viewer to peruse them at eye-level, works could easily be inspected both frontally, as well as slightly from below. This made for an intimate acquaintance between viewer and subject, serving Ginzel’s work particularly well. Rooted in the playful mixture of eclectic materials, her enchanting concoctions aim to not only disguise but to reinvent the familiar; she adds value not where it was lost, but where it hardly existed in the first place.
Hybrids between sculpture and painting, Ginzel’s objects involve a staggering amount of found, fragmented, and usually random ingredients. The latter can range from tea bags, mohair, wax, thread, gaffers tape, wasp nest, felt, clothing remnants, rubber band and gold leaf, to dirt. Mixed, re-matched, and altered, the remnants are stripped off their former functionality and everyday context. However, that does not equate with a loss of meaning. In fact, Ginzel’s hand-sized objects can exude an almost shamanistic quality. One might easily imagine them playing an important part in some ritual. The fact that some of the materials involved are gathered in specific places, including dirt from the music haven Muscle Shoals in Alabama, for example, enhances this notion.
In addition to her three-dimensional works, Ginzel also continuously embroiders various scraps of paper. These can either be discarded snippets of mass-produced candy wrappers or popcorn packages, for example, or involve more personal notations, such as schedules, index cards, or specifically selected book pages. Stitch-by-stitch, these mundane items are elevated from the commonplace to the carefully considered. By tenderly abstracting her materials, Ginzel helps them to obtain a sense of preciousness and even an air of Romanticism.
In order to provide a comprehensive overview of Ginzel’s oeuvre, “My Bed is Made of Atoms” presented a selection of works from the past 15 years. In that period she has consistently found inspiration in mainstream culture. However, it is the elegant execution of her work, as well as her careful handling of her materials, that reveal a high regard for craft. She is interested in interacting with her subjects in a simple and yet profound way, or as she has pointed out: “It is in the simplicity and interaction, where the essence of life’s breath resides, not in the end result or goal achieved.”