From October 29 to December 3, 2022, Handle With Care will feature thirteen new paintings by the artist whose extensive career has taken her to work on children’s books, animated films, commercials and album covers. This exhibition represents his third appearance at Corey Helford Gallery, following Relazioni Pericolose in November 2019 and Hide and Seek in August 2017.
Known for her work that explores how childlike wonder and innocence can turn into emotional turmoil, the acrylic paintings on display at Handle With Care are a great example of the dark twists her subjects can take. Expect to see decapitated bodies staring at their giant heads in aquariums, and an innocent girl watches her balloon explode with a bloody splatter.
Role reversal is a staple of the San Marino artist’s repertoire, often deployed to blur the lines between good and evil and remind viewers that this line is finer than they suspect. Made even more dreamlike by her richly detailed style, Nicoletta says her work is an attempt to strike a delectable balance between repulsive and appealing.” Adding, “What is beautiful and soft often hides dark suggestions.”
In all of the exhibited works, his new paintings bring together themes of love and loss, innocence and maturity, life and death. She says the narratives in these paintings examine her own strengths and weaknesses, but she paints these feelings with a trademark and compelling sense of humor and “psychological tension”.
Nicoletta says, “I show our fragile nature as humans. I mix the childlike and the innocent with the grotesque by painting adorable porcelain toys to look like biological beings, sometimes injured and disturbing to look at, with elements of the grotesque and the cute. collapsing, which pull the viewer between these opposite poles.”
These conflicting poles are personified in one fluffy, flimsy pink ballerina figure who appears to conjure her own head from a top hat as she ponders where her own mind lies, while in another we witness the silent yet mighty power of Little Red Riding Hood as she tames the big bad wolf with her charms.
The artist adds: “Showing my vulnerability is how I come to better understand myself and the world I inhabit. Just like in life, one can see a duality in these works. Childhood fantasies are punctuated by anxieties common in adulthood.
“Nothing is completely black or white. There is no sweet without bitter. These works reveal my deepest fears and are a way for me to fight against constraints, as well as to seek power, the independence, creativity, spirituality and magic.”
Handle With Care opens Saturday, October 29 from 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. in Gallery 3, alongside a solo exhibition by Brandi Milne, titled Everything I Ever Was, in the Main Gallery.