Sugar Coating is a group exhibition featuring works by artists Renee Cloud, Hale Ekinci, Andrea Vail, Douglas Degges and HNin Nie.
Sugar Coating brings together the work of five artists who conceal or reveal something below the surface. Visitors will experience a collection of lush textures and vivid colors – woven, knotted, and printed textile works, paintings, shimmering two-dimensional text-based studies, and sculpture, both hard and soft. This collaboration includes artists from Chicago, North Carolina, and Connecticut whose work centers around the subtlety of subtext and the allure of bright colors and shiny surfaces. Beyond their surfaces, works ask deeper questions about the utility and varied functions of accumulation, beauty, color, decoration, and nuanced language.
Looking to undercut the perceived seriousness of nonobjective abstraction, Degges’s work deploys the visual language of gestural abstraction at a modest scale and with humor, an eye for the everyday, and appreciation for small moments of formal awkwardness. In the case of Vail’s work, her woven and looped assemblages of pre-owned objects speak to her ongoing interest in the stylistically obsolete and habits of consumption. Ekinci, similarly, collages together embroidery, found textiles, and images from family archives to explore the phases of acculturation, immigrant identity, and ideas about gendered labor and materials. Her fringes are inspired by the Turkish tradition of oya (lace edgings on headdresses) and its use of symbolic patterns that serve as a secret language between women. On the other hand, Cloud creates work that connects with the viewer through text-based explorations on mirrored glass and other reflective substrates to intertwine her personal narrative, commentary on the Black experience, and the power of the written word. The text used in her work provides only a fraction of the narrative, leaving the viewer to imagine the rest. Conversely, Nie offers the answer more directly. Her sculptures and paintings empower those who step into a fantasy world of anthropomorphised fruit and vibrant imagery layered over unsettling vignettes. Conversations about gender inequity and female liberation are prompted by the slick, candy-like sheens and relatable imagery.
About the Artists
Renee Cloud is a Charlotte native and received her BFA in Studio Art from Appalachian State University in 2015. Using a combination of text art and mixed media, Cloud creates work that focuses on the personal narrative, the black experience, and the power of the written word. The text incorporated into her work provides only a fraction of the narrative, leaving the viewer to create the rest. Cloud resides in Charlotte, North Carolina and is currently working as a freelance creative within her community.
Hale Ekinci is a multidisciplinary Turkish artist based in Chicago. She received her MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts & Media at Columbia College Chicago and is currently an Associate Professor of Art & Design at North Central College. Focusing on personal history, hybrid identity, gender politics, and craft traditions, her works vary from videos to embroidery paintings embellished with vibrant colors, patterns, and cultural relics.
She was recently a Facebook Chicago Artist in Resident. Her work has been exhibited nationally at EXPO Chicago, Studio Gang, One After 909, Woman Made Gallery, South Bend Museum of Art, Koehnline Museum of Art, St. Louis Artists’ Guild, and Queens College Art Center. Her videos have screened internationally including New York City, Berlin, Warsaw, and Jerusalem. She has been awarded the “Figure and Fiber Award” by Surface Design Association and completed residencies at ACRE, Jiwar Barcelona, Momentum Worldwide Berlin, Elsewhere Museum, and Chicago Artist Coalition.
Andrea Vail is an interdisciplinary artist based in Western North Carolina, who makes connections between objects, people, or their collective communities. Her practice materializes as woven and knotted sculpture, installation, and collaborative exchange. Vail’s work has been exhibited nationally including Oregon College of Art and Craft, Portland, OR; Form & Concept, Santa Fe, NM; Cameron Art Museum, Wilmington, NC; Meramec Contemporary Art Gallery, St. Louis, MO; Wiregrass Museum of Art, Dothan, AL, CAM Raleigh, Raleigh, NC; Tiger Strikes Asteroid GVL, Greenville, SC; Mint Museum, Charlotte, NC; Praxis Fiber Workshop, Cleveland, OH. Her work has been supported with awards from Arts and Science Council; North Carolina Arts Council; HappeningsCLT Visual Artist Grant; CultureWORKS; and residencies with Goodyear Arts, McColl Center for Art + Innovation, and Elsewhere Museum.
Vail received an MFA in Craft/Material Studies from Virginia Commonwealth University and BFA in Visual Art from UNC-Charlotte.
HNin Nie is a multidisciplinary artist in Charlotte, North Carolina. Nie creates stories through painting, sculpture, or film of her experiences as an Asian woman in America. Nie dissects her feminine experiences by layering vibrant imagery over unsettling narratives. The Cherry Gaze is an ongoing series that embodies fruitful women, unknowing of a disquieting gaze. Nie aims to humanize a fruit that is usually objectified, to reclaim its existence, showing the mundane and the magical.
Douglas Degges (b. Shreveport, LA) is an artist and educator currently based in Mansfield Center, CT where he is an Assistant Professor of Art in Painting and Drawing at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, CT. Douglas received his MFA from the University of Iowa and a BA in Studio Art from Rhodes College in Memphis, TN. His work has been exhibited in various group and solo exhibitions throughout the United States and abroad. Most recently his work was exhibited at Side Room Gallery in Brooklyn, NY, the PrattMWP Gallery at Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute in Utica, NY, Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design in Milwaukee, WI, Cleaner Gallery + Projects in Chicago, IL, Stove Works in Chattanooga, TN, and the Meadows Museum of Art at Centenary College in Shreveport, LA. His work has been supported by several artist residencies including the Josef & Anni Albers Foundation, Stove Works, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Millay Colony.