Peeking Out from Under the Blanket

Nicole Tee

January 14 - February 13, 2021


In Peeking Out from Under the Blanket, Nicole Tee ventures to other types of processes on fabric, even as she retains enduring engagements with past themes and materials. Hers has been a process of incremental explorations, tentative in its evolution, and informed by the personal and the domestic. Gestures such as sewing, washing, steaming, or hanging cloth to dry, are recast into forms of artistic labor. The landscapes and motions of home are intimated here; that which abides in the persistence of small, daily tasks, and hence, is grown and cultivated in the everyday.

The outside is alluded to, but only barely, as if of a dream passing. Mountains to be conquered take the form of diminutive stones, or while grand in scale, are transmuted into folds of garments. Seeds, coffee grounds, and flowers are suffused into textile. Diluted to texture, outline, or shape, they lose their insistence, their burdensome prominence. It is not that the outside is to be shunned. After all its demands are too great, too important not to be faced. But here, the reckoning is kept in abeyance, if only for a little while, or perhaps, as much as it takes to recuperate.

Of course, the home has traditionally been the domain of the feminine, of privacy, or of the family. But last year, as the population struggled with lockdowns, it seemingly turned into every place. With each aspect of our lives condensed into one area, home was the singular site where working, resting, and studying happened. An enclosure from which to take refuge in. Yet this blurring of public and private have long featured in the lives of others, in women whose labors encompassed both or in freelancers whose private spaces absorbed their working personas. It is not surprising then that Tee takes cue from both figures. Her artistic processes equally animated by homemaking pursuits on one hand, and the DIY ethos supported by online communities, on the other. And while for some artists (and women), working from home may long be de rigueur, the rest of the world is only still coming to terms with this changed domestic sphere.

­— JC Rosette