Exhibitions: Work of Art: Kymia Nawabi

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    Arts of Asia and the Islamic World
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    Egyptian Art, European Paintings
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    Contemporary Art, Decorative Arts, Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art
  • 5th Floor
    Luce Center for American Art

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Work of Art: Kymia Nawabi

  • Dates: December 22, 2011 through February 5, 2012
  • Collections: Contemporary Art
Press Releases ?
  • December 22, 2011: Work of Art: Kymia Nawabi, an exhibition by the winner of the second season of Bravo’s Work of Art: The Next Great Artist, will open to the public on Thursday, December 22, and will be on view at the Brooklyn Museum through February 5, 2012. Bravo’s Work of Art is an hour-long, 10-part, creative competition television series among fourteen contemporary artists who assembled in New York City under the watchful eye of art world luminaries to battle it out for this show at the Brooklyn Museum.

    A poem by Nawabi, titled “Not for long, my forlorn,” introduced this presentation when it initially appeared on the final episode of the Bravo series. Nawabi’s poem articulates her ideas on the cyclical nature of life, with death and rebirth as natural aspects. Her winning exhibition may be seen as an expression of her personal mythology and a metaphysical journal that explores what it means to be human.

    The exhibition includes 12 paintings and two sculptures inspired by the Egyptian deity Thoth, most often represented as a man with the head of an ibis, a sacred bird in ancient Egypt. The artist appropriates for her own mythology the idea of Thoth as the god who holds the universe in balance and who greets the deceased in the afterlife. The bird and the pattern of a bird’s feathers are recurring motifs in her work, often in the shape of the feather skin of her figures. Sometimes, as with the sculpture of a helmet, Closer to Thoth, or the large drawing The Soul Purpose, the skin of feathers resembles blades of grass.

    Nawabi also expresses the idea of the cycles of life through the use of the Ouroboros, an ancient symbol of eternity that is often depicted in the shape of a snake eating its own tail. The snake, as it appears in Nawabi’s poem and in her painting Have Faith in the Ouroboros, is viewed by the artist as a positive force, and the shedding of skin becomes a metaphor for the renewal of life and the passage from one form of life to the next. References to burials are common in her work: in an image of a feathered figure returning to earth or an allusion to Norse boat funerals as portrayed in the painting The Bridge. Similarly, three sculptures of soil, stone, and wood that comprise Devotional Medal, a work decorated with mirrors, may be viewed as burial mounds.

    Thirty-year-old, New York-based artist Kymia Nawabi received a BFA from East Carolina University and an MFA from the University of Florida and is recipient of several residencies and awards for her work.

    Work of Art: The Next Great Artist, which culminated on December 21 with the airing of the finale, revealed Nawabi as the winner selected from a group of three finalists for a prize of this one-person exhibition, a cash award, and the cover of an art publication, Blue Canvas magazine. Each of the three finalists was given three months to prepare for the final episode. The exhibitions were on view at Phillips de Pury & Company, a leading global auction house for contemporary art, design, and photography. Simon de Pury, the Chairman and Chief Auctioneer, served as a mentor to the contestants throughout the competition, alongside China Chow, who functioned as host and judge, with series judges Bill Powers and Jerry Saltz.

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Press Coverage of this Exhibition ?

  • What's On TodayDecember 14, 2011 By THOMAS GAFFNEY"9:30 P.M. (ABC) BARBARA WALTERS PRESENTS THE 10 MOST FASCINATING PEOPLE OF 2011 This 90-minute program features interviews with those who made headlines in 2011, including Donald Trump, who has inserted himself into the Republican presidential nomination contest, and Derek Jeter of the Yankees, who reached 3,000 career hits in July. Ms. Walters,..."
  • What's On TodayDecember 21, 2011 By THOMAS GAFFNEY"8 P.M. (CBS) A HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS WITH MARTINA McBRIDE Ms. McBride, above, hosts this annual concert dedicated to promoting adoption and telling uplifting stories about children who found families. Between musical performances from Mary J. Blige, Justin Bieber, Gavin DeGraw and others, families that have adopted discuss the experience. One story..."
  • Some Favorite Things Not Hanging on a WallDecember 30, 2011 By ROBERTA SMITH, KEN JOHNSON and KAREN ROSENBERGRoberta Smith, Ken Johnson and Karen Rosenberg discuss some of their favorite three-dimensional artworks and installations in New York museums. Photos (L)
  • Some Favorite Things Not Hanging on a WallDecember 30, 2011 By ROBERTA SMITH, KEN JOHNSON and KAREN ROSENBERGRoberta Smith, Ken Johnson and Karen Rosenberg discuss some of their favorite three-dimensional artworks and installations in New York museums. Photos (L)
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