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Nicole Donnely

Catherine Clements

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Artist Statement 

For a long time now I have believed that the world we know it is ending. This is an uncomfortable statement for me to make. Usually, when I express this belief I undercut it with levity to make it seem more palatable. But in reality, the thought fills me with sadness. In February of 2020 I was diagnosed with a malignant melanoma, and in March I had my left thumb amputated to the second knuckle (for visual clarity, I now have a little stumpy thumb). Thankfully the cancer hadn’t metastasized. But for those six weeks between my diagnosis and treatment, the oblivion of death became less of an abstract anxiety a more of a tactile reality. We’re all going to die; the world as we now know it will end. But within that awareness, I now perceive an essential acknowledgment of the beauty and imperative of being alive.

With this framework, I make objects and images which celebrate and question the profane and sublime dualities that exist in everyday life. Using social media platforms as a site for visual research and content mining I explore themes of intimacy and honesty and the evolution of expression in digital formats. Rooted in both the physical need to make and the social need to connect, my work is at times enchanting and haunting. Traditional techniques and a love of craft inform my formal decision-making. Conceptually I strive to communicate a persona that is simultaneously nurturing and darkly humorous. Using structures and modes of presentation that are inherently temporal, in all of my work, I hope to give the viewer a moment to engage in an intimate exchange of corporeal sensation for ephemeral consideration.

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