Emily Nickels create ceramic figures as an exploration of the anxieties, discoveries, and lessons of adolescence in a materialistic consumer culture. My sculptures reference Portal Fantasy: a literary genre featuring a protagonist’s journey through a magical passageway to another world. In a Portal Fantasy tale, a protagonist finds herself thrust into a land where nothing makes sense and she doesn’t know how to fit in. Adolescents in the US receive messages about themselves from product marketing and mass media that can feel as overwhelming and nonsensical as Alice’s trip down the rabbit hole. As Portal Fantasy features lush, dreamlike worlds teeming with magical creatures, Emily Nickel lavishes detail upon her pieces to signal that they come from a world such as these. Magical beasts and their human companions are strapped into restrictive or ridiculous costumes, a reference to the strictures of appearance, dress, and behavior aimed at adolescents, particularly young girls.
Emily Nickel Artist Statement:
“Oversexualized products and behaviors marketed to adolescent girls tame their youthful exuberance in exchange for a doll-like passivity. In response to this I find it important to emphasize the unkemptness, the wildness of the figures. These wild animals and their unruly human companions leap and tumble through the space they inhabit, giving a sense of unmoored tumult. I want to portray characters in the messy and disorienting process of seeking their truth in an unfamiliar land.”
Emily Nickel Education and CV:
2014-2017: MFA candidate in ceramics at Indiana University Bloomington.
2008: BFA with an emphasis in ceramics, Truman State University. Graduated cum laude and with departmental honors.
2014-17: Associate Instructor of Ceramics and 3D Design at Indiana University Bloomington
2016: Guest Lecturer, Museum Studies I, Indiana University Bloomington
Artist in Residence at Watershed Center for the Arts, Newcastle, ME
Panel Moderator at the 50th NCECA conference in Kansas City, MO.
2014-16 (summer): Art Camp Coordinator/instructor, Buckhorn KY Children’s & Family Services.
2013 & 2015 (summer): Instructor’s Assistant at Penland School of Crafts.
2014: Workshop Instructor at Clay Arts Vegas.
2012-14: Ceramics Instructor and Artist in Residence at Hazard Community & Technical College.
2012-13 (summer): Studio Assistant at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts.
2010-12: Ceramics Studio Manager and Artist in Residence at Access Arts in Columbia, MO.
2008-12: Art Instructor at the Robert L. Perry Juvenile Justice Center in Columbia, MO.
Grants & Scholarships
2016: Mary Jane McIntyre Scholarship, Indiana University
Grant-in-Aid for MFA Projects, Indiana University Bloomington Graduate School
Kiln God Scholarship, Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts
Arrowmont Workshop Scholarship, Arrowmont School & Indiana University partnership
2015: Conference Travel Grant: College of Arts & Sciences, Indiana University
The Genia and Max Tanner Scholarship, Indiana Universtity
2014: Holiday Award, Pygmalion’s Art Supply Store
2016- present: Member of the College Art Association
2015-16: President of Indiana University Bloomington Ceramics Guild
2014-15: Vice President of Indiana University Bloomington Ceramics Guild
2007-present: Member of the National Council for Education in the Ceramic Arts (NCECA)
2009-12: Member of the Columbia Art League
2007-08: President of Truman State University Ceramics Club
Selected Exhibitions & Awards
2017 (upcoming): Portal (Solo Show), Leedy-Voulkos Art Center, Kansas City, MO. Invitational.
(upcoming): Portal (MFA Thesis Show), Grunwald Gallery, Indiana University Bloomington.
2016 Beyond the Brickyard, Archie Bray, Helena, MT. National Juried Show. Juror: Peter Beasecker. Printed Catalog.
50th NCECA National Student Juried Exhibition, Leedy-Voulkos Art Center, Kansas City, MO. Jurors: Liz Quackenbush and Lee Somers. Printed Catalog.
Non-Graduating MFA Show, Indiana University Bloomington. Invitational.
2015 Graphic Clay, Baltimore Clayworks, Baltimore, MD. National Juried Show. Juror: Jason Burnett. Online Catalog.
The Art of Yōkai, AMACO Brickyard Gallery, Indianapolis, Indiana. Invitational.
Non-Graduating MFA Show, Indiana University Bloomington. Invitational. Awarded First Place: Dean’s Award.
2014 The Dark Forest (Solo Show), Clay Arts Vegas, Las Vegas, NV. Invitational.
2013 National Cup Show, Starbrick Gallery, Nelsonville, OH. National Juried Show. Juror: Lorna Meaden. Received two purchase awards.
What Goes Bump in the Night, Clay Arts Vegas, Las Vegas, NV. National Juried Show.
Tabletop, The Art League, Alexandria, VA. National Juried Show. Awarded Honorable Mention.
2011 Hybrid Identity, Columbia Art League, Columbia, MO. Juried. Awarded Honorable Mention.
2010 Give a Gift of Art, Columbia Art League, Columbia, MO. Juried.
Boone County Art Exhibition, Boone County National Bank, Columbia, MO. Awarded Third Place in the categories of Sculpture and Ceramics (for two separate works.)
Tall Stories, Columbia Art League, Columbia, MO. Juried. Juror: Doug Freed.
Functional Relationships, Mississippi University for Women, Columbus, MS. National Juried Show. Jurors: Matt Long and Robert Long.
2009 Columbia Art League Holiday Member’s Show, Columbia Art League, Columbia, MO. Juried. Awarded First Place.
The Communal Nest, gallery show and benefit art auction. Caleb Bingham Gallery, Columbia, MO. Invitational.
Natural Selection, Perlow Stevens Gallery, Columbia, MO. Juried.
Altered Realities, Columbia Art League, Columbia, MO. Juried.
Women in the Arts, The Craft Studio, Columbia, MO. Juried. Juror: Christine Holtz.
2014-17: Canvas Magazine Fall & Spring Issues, Published by Indiana University.
2009 Arts spotlight published in VOX News Magazine, Columbia, MO.
Feature article and interview published in the Columbia Missourian’s Sunday Ovation Arts Section.