ALEX NICHOLS - 2011
At ArtMill, Alex made us take her to the local dump at every opportunity. Various rusted metal objects like signs, buckets, license plates kept appearing around the mill and up in her studio. Scraps of paper turned into cut-out words and before our eyes she created an entire installation of windows and words. Working in the tradition of the concrete poets, Alex made 3 dimensional poems which reflected light and played with transparency as a metaphor. Other works used the old license plates with numbers and districts defining themselves in a jumble of collaged anonymity. The fact that most of the plates were from stolen cars across the border delighted the artist, giving the work another layer of socio-cultural comment. Alex was a dedicated resident at ArtMill, sharing her terrific energy from cooking with us, to Zumba dancing, to a running a workshop on poetry in two languages, one of which she did not even speak!
In 2011, Alex Nichols completed a Residency at the Recology Center, also known as the San Francisco Dump. In this residency she sifted through objects that had been discarded, creating poems and works of art based on a documentation of the fragments of our culture. This culminated in an exhibition called Her most recent exhibition entitled "Transfer Station" opened May 20.
Alex works in multiple mediums; poetry, mixed media and video installation. She is particularly interested in how ideas take shape differently within and across her various disciplines. Her recent exhibitions include Breaking Ranks, a performance reading held at the Headlands Center for the Arts in Marin, California and Heteronyms, an exhibition held at Modernism West Gallery in San Francisco. Breaking Ranks incorporated both story and video of a worker at a contaminated facility. Heteronyms, titled for Fernando Pessoa's multiple personas, included a group of life size charcoal multifaceted self-portraits, looking at identity. Alex has also completed an MFA in writing at the California College of Arts (CCA) in San Francisco. She is interested in the use of structures and sub-structures, the materiality of language, and the fragmented aspects of daily life.