Artist Spotlight: Nicole Patel

Nicole Patel’s artwork is at once minimal and nuanced. Her geometric grids explore elements of drawing and design through textile. She winds one or two threads in muted colors across the clean, off-white surface of each piece, rooted with precisely placed nails on the back of the canvas. The resulting work is a meticulous arrangement of line and space.

Nicole Patel with The Swiss (2015) White muslin, cotton thread, ashwood bar 32 x 40 in Photo Courtesy of Sweetu Patel

Nicole Patel with The Swiss (2015)
White muslin, cotton thread, ashwood bar
32 x 40 in
Photo Courtesy of Sweetu Patel

Trained in sculpture and textiles, Patel brings both three dimensional sensibilities and knowledge of material into her work. She approaches her fine art with the same principles she used as an interior designer: clarity, simplicity, and peace. Three years ago, when she found that the constraints of interior design could no longer fully express her aesthetic, she began her current series.

Close up of Black Graph Photo Courtesy of Sweetu Patel

Close up of Black Graph
Photo Courtesy of Sweetu Patel

The inspiration for her work comes primarily from the philosophies of a small movement called voluntary simplicity, which took place in California and the Pacific Northwest during the 1970’s. Its ideals invoke true minimalism: forgo consumerism and excess to achieve an authentic lifestyle based on having just enough to reach one’s true potential. Through its practice, Patel found what she describes as “an enlightened material restraint”, which is demonstrated in the concise execution of her work.

In her process, Patel incorporates aspects of Zen Buddhism. She pulls one string rhythmically along the canvas, like the slow, focused breathing of Zen meditation. The piece comes together like a performance, achieving an orchestration of grace through discipline and rigor. The fluidity and simplicity of its composition translates to the visual satisfaction enjoyed by the viewer. Rather than being a concentrated experience, Patel’s work fills the room with a presence. It acts as an anchor for the viewer, like the steady breaths of meditation, allowing us to gain a new vantage point for observation and acceptance.

The Bridge (2015) White muslin, cotton thread 32 x 40 in Photo Courtesy of Sweetu Patel

The Bridge (2015)
White muslin, cotton thread
32 x 40 in
Photo Courtesy of Sweetu Patel

“It is my intention to provide work that holds a place for simplicity as an antidote to the conditioned allegiances we may have to complexity,” she says. “Minimal alteration to natural materials produces more value than many alterations.”

Patel works with only organic, sustainable medium. She avoids waste, creates art that is environmentally friendly. She sees the full potential of raw materials, without the irreversible alterations of cutting, coloring, and marking. Her pieces can all be disassembled and reassembled limitlessly.

With each piece, the viewer encounters a quiet, harmonious moment that gives pause from the commotion around us.

Nicole Patel's work will be on view in the group exhibition, Here For Now, opening September 2, 2016. Meet the artist at the opening reception on September 8, 2016, from 5 -  9 p.m.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016: Puloma Ghosh