Artist Spotlight: Nikki Moser

Artist Nikki Moser of North Eastern PA has work exhibited in The Oil and Gas Show at Level Gallery on view until March 6, 2016. We spoke with her about her work and politics.

Decker Well Springville PA, Cast Iron, Model Trees, and Flags, 2013

Decker Well Springville PA, Cast Iron, Model Trees, and Flags, 2013

Emma Saperstein: Tell us about your pieces in the Oil and Gas Show at Level Gallery.

Nikki Moser: “Decker Well” and “Lewis Well and Fracking Pond” spring from an investigation into the rapid changes the Hydro-Fracking Industry brought to North Eastern PA, my home. The “industry” moves in long before the business end (derricks, water trucks) it targets weakness and created divides, economic, environmental, personal and political.  It’s a good strategy if the community is fighting with it’s self; no one is watching what industry does. It works, siblings evicted other siblings to take advantage of housing shortages for migrant workers. Some neighbors sold early for less, some late for more money, some stood to lose a lot of money but did not sell. Division after division was created. I was interested in how exactly this mimicked the actual process of Hydo-Fracking; forcing water, chemicals, and sand in the drill hole to “fracture” the shale and release the natural gas. Two different simultaneous fracturing happening one above ground one below. These small cast iron works look above and below ground, they are illusions, we don’t really know what all this looks like, after all we can’t go done a drill hole like a rabbit hole. The works is also scaled to be “pretty” because the scope of what happens in the industry is daunting by human scale. They are diagrams to guide a new conversation.

Lewis Well and Fracking Pond, cast-iron, plaster and acrylic modeling, 2013

Lewis Well and Fracking Pond, cast-iron, plaster and acrylic modeling, 2013

ES: Talk a little bit about your past work and how it has evolved over time. 

NM: Although I long to make happy nice things for people take home like puppies; I seem to need to process my questions about the choices we make as a culture through my work. I am interested in the research as much as the objects that are made from the research. I have always sought to walk that tight rope between the edges of very sensitive topics. I want to make the viewer take a step to the side of their “position” and look again. I am drawing threads and lines between things that I think get lost in the fray. I am tricky. Gypsy carts, familiar and ordinary materials carry symbols in new ways, laden with information. I want the viewer to be seduced right up to the work and just before it would scare them by revealing its conflicted nature they think “oh, this isn’t what I expected.” and then they think wait " What is this?” They are caught in the conversation of the work. I am not a dogmatist. I confess immediately I am complicit in this world, I use natural gas to cook and heat my home. I cannot start a visual conversation unless I tell you a little about me, and then ask a little from you. 

ES: Who is your favorite artist?

NM: A favorite artist would be hard to choose, right now I am looking at Alice Aycock, Judy Pfaff, and Richard Serra and Robert Smithson.

The artist at work.

The artist at work.

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