The Peder Bonnier Gallery is pleased to announce “Heads and Snails,” a show of new functional sculptures and collages by Nicola. “Heads and Snails” refers to the two themes that run thrcugh the entire body of the artist’s new work, and that have made recurrent appearances in her paintings, sculpture and collages of recent years.
In treating these motifs as sculpture, Nicola pares down both the head and the snail to archetypal simplicity while projecting them to monument scale. With their metaphorical evocations of the duality of nature/culture, consciousness and the subconscious, these painstakingly crafted sculptures forge a dramatic synthesis of artistic expression and functionality.
The snail, with all its intimations of natural and cyclical order and infinity, becomes in Nicola’s hands a vessel for other animals, in the form of a steel birdcage; or it is a source of light, as a massive steel candelabra; or a receptacle of objects, in the form of a commode; the head also becomes literally a container of thought as it assumes the function of bookshelf, or of the natural world, as an aquarium. In making these works Nicola expands on a line of exploration dating back to 1968, when she exhibited her first functional sculpture multiples—sofas in the shape of a foot or mouth, an eye lamp—at the renowned Daniel Templon gallery in Paris, and which have since become Pop Art icons.
In addition to the sculptures the artist is exhibiting a new series of mixed-media collages based on the snail and head motifs, many of them inspired and incorporating texts by poets. A suite of five collages employs passages from the poem “I Am A Cowboy in The Boat of Ra,” by Ishmael Reed, while in another series of ten snail collages, Nicola takes as a point of departure the poetry of the great American satirist Dorothy Parker.
“Heads And Snails” February 7, 1996
by Peder Bonnier