Fore artist spotlight
b. 1982, Greenville, SC
Lives and works in Los Angeles, CA
Working between sculpture, installation and design, Nikki Pressley conveys traditions of self-reliance, endurance and belonging in black culture. Inspired by Caribbean writer and philosopher Édouard Glissant’s idea of the “poetics of relation,” she explores individual and collective identity through location, lifestyle and notions of home. Often, Pressley’s installations reveal a desire to reframe, invert or transform an object’s function.
Her new works, custom handmade furniture, literally sprout domestic mementos (plants, archival imagery, maps) from their shelves and
compartments. The furniture creates small, specific networks of intimacy, even as the collected imagery remains anonymous and generalized. Invoking larger responsibilities to community, Pressley’s functional sculptures also include self-written pamphlets and guides to sustainable living and “do-it-yourself” agriculture. Examining the overlap of design and politicized language in the work Mass (2012), Pressley ties crumpled picket signs, remnants of a bygone protest, into a form that resembles an anarchic chandelier.
Encouraging viewers to become actively engaged in their communities, Pressley’s objects offer a multitude of identifications and positions.
—Abbe Schriber, Curatorial Assistant, The Studio Museum in Harlem
Images: re:linked, re:layed, re:rooted, 2012 (in foreground). Photo: Adam Reich; Horizons (Mangroves), 2012; The Messiah is Forthcoming (installation view), 2012; Mass, 2012. Photo: Adam Reich. All courtesy the artist.