Nadezda Nikolova: Elemental Forms
There’s something magical happening at the Center for Photographic Art in Carmel in May and June. I don’t normally use the word magical, but it’s fitting when describing Nadezda Nikolova’s sublime images from her series, Elemental Forms. We’ve had the honor of exhibiting one of Nadezda’s pieces in a group show in the past, but now we are thrilled to be presenting nearly 40 of her new works, all unique collodion plates. This is the first large solo exhibition of the renowned artist’s work that is happening in the United States and it is fitting that these photograms that are so rooted in the landscape should be shown in the gallery that once housed the Friends of Photography founded by Ansel Adams and company. Nadezda’s exhibition opened on May 14 with an informative and inspiring walk-through with the artist. If you missed Nadezda speak yesterday, she is also giving a virtual artist talk on June 1. This show, presented in collaboration with HackelBury Fine Art, is on view through June 19th, 2022, so come see these beautiful works in person. Seeing is believing.
Nadezda Nikolova is a photographic artist whose work is informed by her interest in the photographic object and her connection to the natural world. She works in the darkroom using the historic wet plate collodion process creating experimental camera-less works on metal. The immediacy, fluidity, and materiality of the process allows her to explore photography’s relationship to painting, collage, graphic arts, and sculpture.
Nikolova studied 19th century phototrophic printing processes at the University of Kentucky and the George Eastman Museum. Prior to becoming a full-time artist, she earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental science and a master’s degree in policy analysis. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and is in numerous private collections. She is based in Oakland, California and represented by HackelBury Fine Art, London.
My work investigates how observing Nature informs contemplation, perception, and identity, while reflecting on environmental concerns. The Elemental Forms series (Landscapes & Landscapes Rearticulated) is anchored in a deep connection to the landscape, fascination with the photo-based object, and daily walks in the redwood forest overlooking the San Francisco Bay. Rather than transcribing the observed landscape, I seek to record intuitive responses that speak to the felt and ineffable experience of being present in the landscape, while simultaneously meditating on loss, hope, and meaning. The pared down visual vocabulary created with light, photo chemistry, cut paper, paint brushes, and cliché verre, arises from the immediacy of the photogram as I explore the boundaries of the photographic medium. Disorienting compositions, evidence of the hand, and process artifacts serve to undermine illusionistic references to physical locales while gesturing toward the hidden, the immaterial, the unphotographable.
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