Published May 25, 2021
The work of Filipina artist Nicole Tee has been called “incremental explorations, tentative in its evolution, and informed by the personal and the domestic.” Perhaps because her forms and materials seem to flow instinctively from one iteration to another. These explorations open up to a myriad of expressions like the tenses of a verb, seemingly without self-conscious striving or without pomp or aggrandizement.
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In her exhibition called “Peeking out from under the blanket,” dyed and stained triangular fabrics sewn on embroidery hoops turn into a large painted landscape, the triangular form of a mountainous quilt/blanket. This mountain is lightly dotted with burda-like flowers, a clue and an iteration of earlier works. One of them is a length of canvas dotted with flower-like snags and knots of thread, "Wildflower (baby's breath)." Another is a grid-like collage of dried flowers called "Flower Arrangements." In “A Few of My Favorite Things,” a solo exhibition at ArtInformal, these familiar floral forms are blown-up, magnified in collages made with cut-up patterns and unidentifiable images. These assembled pieces of paper hang like the dead and dried flowers, even as they are painterly, resembling the globs of paint prepared on a surface.
These effortless or instinctive transformations (as opposed to the heroic gestures and virtuosity of much art) suggests the intimate spaces that they draw upon. Tee’s pieces are said to be anchored in repetitive moments, ones that can be found in the mundane air of privacy and seclusion or the clear and undisturbed focus of work. But whether as repeated actions of sewing, reworked motifs, or multiple iterations, this focus is seemingly as much marked by restraint as it is by a quiet uncomplicated drive.
Nicole Tee is a Filipina contemporary artist whose work explores “the everyday,” as well as “the extraordinary, the surreal, the surprising, and the magical.” In 2017, her work “Quiet Punctuations” was shortlisted for the Ateneo Art Awards after being recognized as outstanding thesis at the University of the Philippines the previous year.
Source: JC Rosette