The history of my work has been driven by my fascination with surface, material manipulation, landscape, mapping, observation and abstraction, and ideas of the body and of memory. My studio practice includes and demands relentless photo-documentation of the spaces, scapes and relationships I occupy, and re-visit from my past. My images, which include mixed media drawings and paintings, digital prints, screen prints and photographs are a permutation and understanding of light and abstraction. I aim to create a fluctuating lens for experience, engagement, and reflection.
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Darkness like a gaping mouth - the shadow from another life - it called me, and I followed.
The long pull of a horizon lost. The hard edge where ground touches ground, where life expands and falls violently dormant. A horizontal, transparent gesture marks a space that holds a memory. The earth ripped apart. The black openings of the ovens - suffocating, drowning, dying; depressions like wounds.
Depressions like wounds.
One hundred and twenty nineteenth-century beehive coke ovens rest like graves in a South Western Pennsylvania rural valley in the small mining town of Ardara. They are buried inside of one hundred forty years of life that has swallowed them slowly over time.
Forbidden. Trespassed. Forgotten.
The ovens stretch beyond the highway, and curl along the acid orange sulfur creek. Diesel trains cut through, echoing day and night – their screams reverberating and shaking the hills surrounding them. Their whistles split the silence and crack the blackness of night wide open.
Crack the blackness open.
Time stretches and collapses. Memory falters. Memory fails. Memory falls away. Returns broken. Scale the debris, a ghost without face or voice. Presence. Walk through, pass in front, circle; stand on top.
Quiet. Blaring. Alone.
I crawled inside the darkest blackness and found a blinding light. It cradled my face and lifted it up – lifted it out.
About the Artist:
Nikki Brugnoli received her BFA from Seton Hill University in 2004 and her MFA from The Ohio State University in 2007. She serves on the faculty at George Mason University and is the Assistant Graduate Programs Coordinator and Graduate Advisor in the School of Art as well as the Coordinator of the Art Lab at the Lorton Workhouse, Lorton, VA, and a Hamiltonian Mentor, Washington D.C. She has also taught at The Ohio State University, the Northern Virginia Community Colleges, and The Renaissance School in Charlottesville, VA.
Brugnoli is curating a drawing exhibition; Drawn Out, Drawn Over: Mapping the Territories of Experience at the Brentwood Arts Exchange in January - March, 2017. Her work is included in many private collections across the United States, and is featured in national academic and public institutions.