Nicole M. Santiago – Statement

As Rabbi Abraham Heschel states in his book Who is Man?, “The human situation is disclosed in the thick of living. Living rather than being is what comes (closest) to man’s realness.” (1963, pp94-95)

Within the rhythm of daily life, exists the many tangled narratives we weave while in the “thick of living.” In my work, I depict these semi-autobiographical, multi-tiered tales, but do so indirectly, through a shroud of domestic mundanity. And like any proper story, fluidity and time are essential, but the inherent nature of a painting itself is static. I try to defy this underlying stillness by creating a kind of “thick time,” where residues of the past and suggestions of future swirl around the present. 

And while storytelling is definitely an integral part of my work, it remains subservient to the broader formal concerns of the picture itself. To this end, I often run through several narratives in the course of a painting, finding my subject through the process. My intent is to make works that are equally engaging in both their content and underlying aesthetic.