First Street Gallery

Nicole McCormick Santiago


Artist's Statement

The Sweet Life Cakes and lollipops Cupcakes & Toys Baby Cakes (Still-life) Baby Cakes (Pregnancy Portrait) Indulgence III Birthday Scene Indulgence II Indulgence Offering

Nicole McCormick Santiago

Narrative drives my work. All experience involves both space and time, as does most representation, in one way or another. For me at least, reality always comes down to stories. Therefore, in painting and drawing descriptive, outward realities, I am also describing people and places as human situations that carry implied narratives, which stretch beyond the moment shown. My goal is to give insight into the specific lives of my figures, while also describing the more general human condition. Mostly, the situations I depict are quiet and domestic, which usually makes for still compositions and stories that are more internal than external. This can sometimes leave a sizable gap between description and narrative, the visible and the invisible, which it is my job as an artist to bridge.

My primary aim is to capture the subject’s internal narrative, often thinly veiled by the figure’s appearance, possessions, surroundings, and/or actions. I want to defy the stillness of the painting, to portray a layered narrative where the residues of the past and suggestions of the future swirl around the present, creating a kind of “thick time.” To accomplish this, I use the scattered signs of daily existence to communicate accidental yet honest storylines that provide indirect insight into the cadence of a daily life. That sense of cadence also depends on the abstract structure of the picture itself, in the effects of color, light, space, and composition.

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