Rhetorical Boomerangs (On the Work of Fay Nicolson).

Originally posted on George Vasey:

I’ve written a text in response to the work of Fay Nicolson for her exhibition, ‘A P E L’ at Almanac Projects in London.


A P E L  (A is for…)

Apples suggest something fundamental – at once gravitational and carnal. The apple is a cypher; the real action is elsewhere. A bitten apple and fallen fruit articulate different types of movement, the former is literal (gravity) and the latter is metaphorical (the shift from innocence to experience). One keeps us grounded while the other sends our eyes to the sky looking for redemption. Where one movement is inevitable, the other is about choice. To taste this forbidden fruit? It’s the first decision, and the one that all others are measured against.


To pare is to trim, to literally cut away at something. It communicates elemental thoughts, and primary structures; peeling away of the skin to…

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Open File: A Rehearsal @ Outpost

fay nicolson_openfileFay Nicolson, Strange Gifts, 2014

Open File: A Rehearsal

Maia Conran, Daniel Kelly, Fay Nicolson, Patrick Staff & Cara Tolmie with a text by Jamie Sutcliffe

Saturday 15/3/14. 2 – 5pm
Gildengate House, Upper Green Lane, Norwich, NR3 1AX

Do performances and durational works have a complete state? Do they in fact exist in a constant state of ‘rehearsal,’ forever subject to potential revision or reworking? At what point do they become live?

Continuing to explore our conditions of operation, Open File presents A Rehearsal. Taking place over an afternoon the event seeks to examine the preliminary and peripheral aspects of performance in the transitory spaces of the OUTPOST studio complex.

Addressing notions of residue or trace and investigating the conditions that surround the presentation of live work, A Rehearsal utilises the live event in terms of a proposal for something that is yet to happen. In approaching the staging of performances and screenings as something that draws light to that which is peripheral and involved with process over output, we aim to consider the creative conditions of presenting a ‘live work.’ We are interested in the peripheral and the provisional and whether it is possible to stage these sincerely, without artifice or fictionalisation. A Rehearsal seeks to conflate the stages of creation and completion, presentation and re-presentation.

The event will also be accompanied by a printed publication and acts as a catalyst for online content and a precursor to a forthcoming series of events that will take place around the UK in 2014.


Meeting at Outpost Gallery at 2pm
10b Wensum Street, Norwich, NR3 1HRImage: Strange Gift, Fay Nicolson, 2014


Triangle Network Artist Residency in Oman

FayNicolson1Fay Nicolson, pearl white and ice cream, video installation with sound, 2013

FayNicolson4 FayNicolson3 FayNicolson5 FayNicolson6 FayNicolson7 FayNicolson8 FayNicolson9 FayProcess1All images, Fay Nicolson, Pearl white and ice cream, video installation with sound, 2013


Images from Triangle International Artist Workshop – Muscat, 8 – 21 December 2013

Images from the end of a 2 week workshop taking place in Muscat, Oman for the first time with the participation of 13 artists from Oman, UK and Yemen. This workshop, which is process-oriented, encourages experimentation and site specific work, is part of the international Triangle Arts Trust Network of workshops and residencies that has been active globally for over thirty years.

The artists: Abdul Raheem Al-Hooti, Oman, Alice Theobald, UK, Amy Stephens, UK, Budoor Al-Riyami, Oman, Fakhrataj Al-Ismaily, Oman, Fay Nicolson, UK, Issa Al-Mufarji, Oman, Jihad Al-Mamari, Oman, Max Wade, UK, Mohammed Al-Rashdi, Oman, Nasser Al Aswadi, Yemen, Richard Forbes Hamilton, UK, Tahira Al-Lawati, Oman.  Workshop Coordinators: Ola El-Khalidi, Abdulla Al-Ismaili.

P A R E ~ solo show ~ West Lane South


PARE_FAY2Fay Nicolson, P A R E (drape), digital print on silk


PARE_FAY4Fay Nicolson, Marginal Notes (Unfolding), steel, magnets, hand printed photograph


PARE_FAY6Fay Nicolson, P A R E (drop), paper, steel bar, magnets

PARE_FAY7Fay Nicolson, Marginal Notes (Unfold), steel, magnets, hand printed photograph



Fay Nicolson

West Lane South – 13 Nov – 21 Dec 2013

P A R E is an absence that marks itself in the only way it can, by co-opting its opposite: that which is there. It is absence performing, over and over, facing the other way; an invisible avatar of the thing itself, an echo, a stutter or a repetition.

To strip and carve a pear is to reduce, attenuate; to take, remove, excavate, forget. The pear, abstracted, rots but the word, image, symbol, form, lingers and renews itself. The pear is sliced in two, at once doubled and halved, opened up, de-formed and rearranged, offered, a pair.

P A R E is an exercise in the practice of the not-there, the result of many performances, the ritual repetition of domestic action and mass production; it can be read by seeing through, or around, as silk drapes the space in two and paper is cut away by hand. Can divergent meaning and functions be brought into focus, stopped from moving, compressed into one surface?

A punch card declares presence by removal, a performative perforation in time. An absence becomes a doubling, a mirror, a representation; a dialogue between you and the material that frees you from the too-conscious.


A P E L ~ solo show ~ Almanac Projects



APEL_FAY3Fay Nicolson, A P E L (I), 2013. Digital print on silk, steel bar.



APEL_FAY6Fay Nicolson, A P E L (III), 2013. Digital print on silk, steel bar.

APEL_FAY7Fay Nicolson, Marginal Notes (Disarray), 2013, (detail). Steel, magnets, hand printed photograph.


APEL_FAY9Fay Nicolson, A P E L (II), 2013. Digital print on silk, steel bar.

APEL_FAY10Installation view, Fay Nicolson, A P E L, 2013. (left) Marginal Notes (Fruit/Fold), 2013. Steel, magnets, hand printed photographs. (right) Marginal Notes ( ), 2013. Steel, magnets.

APEL_FAY11Fay Nicolson, Marginal Notes (Fruit/Fold), 2013. Steel, magnets, hand printed photographs.




APEL_FAY15Fay Nicolson, Heavy Handed (Mould), 2013. Glazed Ceramic.

APEL_FAY16Fay Nicolson, Heavy Handed (Envy), 2013. Glazed Ceramic.


Fay Nicolson

            Start from the beginning. A is for Apple.

            The hand traces a diagonal line.

            The mouth opens.

            An object is half complete, about to fall.

Almanac is delighted to present A P E L, a solo show by London-based artist Fay Nicolson,  2 – 22 November 2013.

For her exhibition at Almanac, the artist builds upon an ongoing investigation into the structuring roles of art, education and documentation, and ways of contaminating the gaps between systems of knowledge transferal. The exhibition’s title refers to the taxonomy of language and its role is structuring learning, with APEL referring to a framework of valuing alternative educational experience (Accreditation of Prior Experience and Learning).

Nicolson uses repetition and ‘play sense’ within the artist’s studio to unfold binary discussions around language and making, between tacit and implicit knowledge. Strategies of  recording and material displacement give form to moments of hesitation – employing repetitive processes that fluctuate between practice and productivity.

Where the grid is a fiction used to denote spaces of equality, divorcing objects from contexts beyond their own qualities, this exhibition is an exploration of the weave, as an embodied structure. Pull one thread and the rest of the image is implicated, fraying at the edges of reality, its narrative unravels. Operating in the tentative space joining then – now – a possible future, surface, image, object and information jostle for visibility and value.

Drawing on the work and teachings of artists such as Josef and Anni Albers, the exhibition explores how material as a medium of slow, embodied knowledge can resist both language and authority. Moving from text to textiles,  the weave allows for a diagonal movement across positions; questioning what it means to act in relation to something else; as a partner, a complement or support.


Artist’s editions at Almanac: http://almanacprojects.com/support/


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