Our own Sinikka Nogelo has been inducted into the NAWA

Wonderful article on Sinikka Nogelo in the Gloucester Daily Times

Among the many mediums Gloucester artist Sinikka Nogelo has worked in is television. As director of Cape Ann TV for 29 years, she pioneered early local public access programming (CATV) with one camera, a tiny budget, a lot of ingenuity and some “terrific teamwork.” Until retiring from that post back in 2011, her first love — art — went on hold. Except, that is, for weekends, when she was what she calls a “beach chair artist.”

Nogelo, who last spring was inducted in a ceremony in New York City into the prestigious National Association of Women Artists (NAWA) is still a beach chair artist when she wants to be.

One of her most ambitious recent works, “All Wired” — a 5-by-8-by-4-foot environmental conceptual sculpture made from no fewer than 3,000 colored wire hangers — was constructed for a 2017 exhibition in Newburyport’s Maudslay Park while Nogelo basked in “a collection of beach chairs” that stretched from Gloucester (Good Harbor and Magnolia) to New Hampshire (New Found Lake).

 But for the most part, the artist may nowadays be found in her studio at Gloucester’s Cripple Cove, where there is no saying what medium she’ll be working in on any given moment. Although painting has been her primary medium, as an ever more passionate environmentalist, she has in recent years found herself increasingly drawn to working with found objects, as a way to conceptualize environmental statements.

Metallic materials, cans washed up on beaches, trash — litter of all kinds, contours and colors — have in her hands been transformed into sculptural installations and wall pieces. One of those pieces, “Washed Up” — a wall piece protesting beach litter — has been chosen by the Massachusetts chapter of NAWA for exhibit at RADAR, an environmentally focused show opening Sunday, Feb. 11, at Boston’s @artlery160 gallery.

This is the first time Nogelo’s work has been juried into a NAWA show, but it is not her only work in the show. “Tundra Melt,” an intricate acrylic that suggests glacier fragmenting to address global warming, will also be nearby.

One of several Cape Ann artists who are members of NAWA — including Cynthia Journey and Donna Caselden whose works will be in the show as well — Nogelo still seems to be more than a little awed to find herself in the august company of NAWA’s “awesome” artists.

Founded in 1889, “to create greater opportunity for professional women artists in a male-dominated art world,” NAWA has counted among its members no less than the great 20th century Impressionist Mary Cassat and sculptural iconclast Louise Nevelson, as well as Gertrude Whitney, founder of New York’s newly relocated Whitney Museum of American Art. But it was the trail-blazing 21st century contemporary feminist Judy Chicago who seemed to most impress the Gloucester artist.

“I was awestruck,” says Nogelo. She could not believe that she’d ever see the day she’s see her name on the membership roster with Chicago’s. “I thought, Judy Chicago! I guess I felt sort of intimidated.” But like Chicago, experimentation is the hallmark of Sinikka Nogelo’s work. She has, she says, been influenced by everything from her Scandinavian background (she was born in Finland, but raised in America) to her years teaching university in Africa, to her years of video production at CATV, to her love of waves and weaving.

A founding member of Gloucester’s now defunct women’s art cooperative and gallery, Center and Main, she has always been supportive of and inspired by fellow women artists. “We have so many good ones on Cape Ann,” she says.

One of them, Donna Caseldon, was with her last spring when she traveled to New York City’s Rubin Museum for NAWA’s formal induction ceremony. Caseldon, president of the Annisquam Sewing Circle, whose talents took her to Washington last holiday season to join a contingent of designers chosen to transform the White House for Christmas, is, like Nogelo, primarily known for her oils and acrylics. But at the RADAR exhibit, she will be showing a conceptual environmental piece.

Likewise Manchester artist, Cynthia Journey, will make her RADAR debut with a wall installation, “Breaking Through,” one of several conceptual sculptures she has produced this past year to protest current disregard for ethical management of the planet. With a newly opened gallery on Rockport’s Bearskin Neck, Journey joins Nogelo and Caseldon on Cape Ann’s growing roster of rising women artists to be counted among the “awesome” greats of NAWA.


What: “RADAR” an environmental art show juried by David Thomson and Tameka Eastman-Coburn (Gallery Director) of @artlery160 gallery.

When: Sunday, Feb. 11, to May 4. Opening Reception: Saturday, Feb. 17, 5 to 8 p.m.

Where: @artlery160 gallery, 160 Federal St., Boston. Phone: 617-699-2713

For more information, visit: www.nawama.org and www artlery.com/artlery160

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