White Room: Nicole Storm

August 28–October 16, 2021 White Room

Press Release

White Columns is pleased to present a solo exhibition by Nicole Storm (b. 1967), an artist who has been affiliated with Oakland’s pioneering Creative Growth Art Center since 1995. White Columns has collaborated extensively with Creative Growth and its artists over the past 16 years.

For her exhibition at White Columns, her first outside of Creative Growth, Storm traveled to New York City during the summer to create an immersive, site-specific installation that juxtaposes new and recent drawn, painted and sculptural works.

For Storm, who has Down syndrome, the process of creation is paramount to the resulting work. Writing about Storm’s approach Creative Growth’s gallery director Sarah Galender Meyer has observed that: “Nicole doesn’t simply sit or stand while working – she walks around the site, hides in corners, carrying her work with her as she adds to her drawings and paintings. This is a central component of her process, and its ambulatory nature functions as a way for her to gather and harvest visual information. Although Storm is not performing for anyone, seeing her work is akin to watching a performance piece: she hums, takes breaks to dance, engages in conversation, whilst casually moving her artwork around the space. As a natural progression of her creative process, she has taken over directing the installation of her work, creating active environments that appear to be continually in a state of flux.”

At White Columns Storm has created a profoundly affecting installation: one that amplifies the freely-associative, improvisatory, and calligraphic nature of her work. Oscillating between drawing and painting, and through a process of repeatedly adjusting or amending the surfaces of her works, Storm has created an open-ended visual language that is uniquely her own.

Creative Growth was founded in the Bay Area in 1974 by Elias Katz and Florence Ludins-Katz on the principle that art is fundamental to human expression and that all people should have access to its tools of communication. Creative Growth was the first studio and gallery in the United States for artists with developmental disabilities. Creative Growth was, and remains, a pioneer in the field of arts and disabilities. Work by Creative Growth artists is now held in many public collections, including: The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The American Folk Art Museum, New York; Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA; The Brooklyn Museum, New York; The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; The Oakland Museum of California, Oakland, CA; The Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington D.C.; The Studio Museum of Harlem, New York; Centre Pompidou, Paris; and The Collection de L’Art Brut, Lausanne, Switzerland. To learn more about Creative Growth and how to support its work: www.creativegrowth.org

White Columns was founded in 1970 and recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. White Columns is New York’s oldest alternative art space and is committed to establishing a context for the work of artists – from all backgrounds – who have yet to benefit from wider critical, curatorial or commercial support. Since 2005 White Columns has organized more than forty exhibitions and projects in collaboration with organizations that support artists with disabilities, including: Creative Growth Art Center, Oakland, CA; N.I.A.D., Richmond, CA; Visionaries + Voices, Cincinnati, OH; H.A.I, New York; Fountain Gallery, New York; and Project Ability, Glasgow, Scotland, among others. Previous collaborations with Creative Growth’s artists at White Columns include solo exhibitions by John Hiltunen, Dan Miller, Aurie Ramirez, Judith Scott and William Scott.

Lead support for Nicole Storm’s exhibition has been provided by Martin and Rebecca Eisenberg. Additional support has been provided by Selig Sacks, Anne Collier and Matthew Higgs.

For more information: info@whitecolumns.org

A collection of colorful mixed media works arranged on white walls. To the right is a green, orange, and blue painting in the foreground. In the background pieces are hung sporadically across the walls.
Frontal view of a number of mixed media compositions varying in size. A sculpture of a decorated box positioned upside down is to the right.
A large mixed media installation displayed in the corner, running along two adjacent walls.
Mixed media installation of paintings varying in sizes, installed on two gallery walls. A box sculpture positioned upside down can be seen in the foreground where the two walls meet.
A freestanding wall displaying a colorful installation of pieces on canvas and paper. In the background to the left is an archway presenting the entrance of the neighboring exhibition.
Detailed view of a large freestanding box, painted in hues of red, positioned upside down in front of two gallery walls.
Frontal view showing colorful site specific paintings on a gallery wall. In the foreground to the right are three painted cylinder sculptures varying in sizes.
Detailed view of three painted cylinder sculptures in the foreground. Each sculpture is varying in size from small to large, left to right, in hues of purple, blue, and red.
Entrance view of a gallery depicting Nicole Storm’s site specific painting exhibition to the left and Norma Tanega’s Red Mt. Boldly, 1997 to the right.
A blue mixed media painting on paper covered with patterns of pink, white, and black that create abstract shapes in swirls.
A pink, orange, and brown painted work cut into a unique and oblong shape.
An abstract painting on wood is decorated with intertwined shapes in blue and white across a bright pink background.

Nicole Storm, installation view, 2021 (A collection of colorful mixed media works arranged on white walls. To the right is a green, orange, and blue painting in the foreground. In the background pieces are hung sporadically across the walls.)

Nicole Storm, installation view, 2021 (Frontal view of a number of mixed media compositions varying in size. A sculpture of a decorated box positioned upside down is to the right.)

Nicole Storm, installation view, 2021 (A large mixed media installation displayed in the corner, running along two adjacent walls.)

Nicole Storm, installation view, 2021 (Mixed media installation of paintings varying in sizes, installed on two gallery walls. A box sculpture positioned upside down can be seen in the foreground where the two walls meet.)

Nicole Storm, installation view, 2021 (A freestanding wall displaying a colorful installation of pieces on canvas and paper. In the background to the left is an archway presenting the entrance of the neighboring exhibition.)

Nicole Storm, installation view, 2021 (Detailed view of a large freestanding box, painted in hues of red, positioned upside down in front of two gallery walls.)

Nicole Storm, installation view, 2021 (Frontal view showing colorful site specific paintings on a gallery wall. In the foreground to the right are three painted cylinder sculptures varying in sizes.)

Nicole Storm, installation view, 2021 (Detailed view of three painted cylinder sculptures in the foreground. Each sculpture is varying in size from small to large, left to right, in hues of purple, blue, and red.)

Nicole Storm, installation view, 2021 (Entrance view of a gallery depicting Nicole Storm’s site specific painting exhibition to the left and Norma Tanega’s Red Mt. Boldly, 1997 to the right.)

Nicole Storm Untitled, 2021 Mixed media on paper 40 × 26 in. (A blue mixed media painting on paper covered with patterns of pink, white, and black that create abstract shapes in swirls.)

Nicole Storm Untitled, ND Acrylic and ink on paper 25.75 × 12.5  in. (A pink, orange, and brown painted work cut into a unique and oblong shape.)

Nicole Storm Untitled, 2021 Acrylic and ink on wood 23 × 15.25 in. (An abstract painting on wood is decorated with intertwined shapes in blue and white across a bright pink background.)