Nemec AKA Vernita N'Cognita's first installation artworks in the mid-70’s were
the fragments and detritus of her artmaking, transferred from
the walls of her studio to the gallery. She continues creating installations both as site-specific works and as backdrops for performance artworks aswell
as mixed -media collages & photographs.
A sense of
autobiography has permeated all of Nemec’s art since her first feminist
performance in 1978 when she swept a street corner in Soho where she still
lives and works. Her first performance was at the Guggenheim Museum in
Meredith' Monk's "Juice". Since, she has performed her own work at
the Women's Building in Los Angeles, La Mama, Franklin Furnace and other venues
including Guerrilla Performances at the Pompidou Museum in Paris.
collagist, the artist’s "Endless Junkmail Scroll” is about creatively
“recycling” all that junkmail inducing us to borrow & charge.
Initially inspired by her artistic mother whose choice for drawing, as well as
for grocery lists, was used envelopes, the artist adds fragments of paint,
words, drawings & photographs to the surface of the collaged security
envelopes that serve as the basic structure of the scroll. Begun nearly a
decade ago conceptually, the “Endless Junkmail Scroll” is now over 200 feet in
length and growing still. Exhibited sometimes as a scroll and sometimes as
framed sections, the collaged scroll serves as a constant reminder of all that
we discard senselessly.
added "N’Cognita" to her name to honor all unknown artists and has
been active as a visual/performance artist/curator since the late 1960’s when
she co-curated “X-12”, the first feminist art show of the period, and worked
with Artworkers Coalition (AWC), Women Artists in Revolution (WAR), and Artists
Meeting for Cultural Change
90’s, Nemec served as Director of Artists Talk On Art, interviewing art world
luminaries, and as independent curator at Henry Street Settlement for the
Arts. Until 2006, she was the Director of Viridian Artists, a contemporary art
gallery in Chelsea. She is currently serving on the Board of Directors of Soho
20, a feminist gallery also in Chelsea. Since the mid-nineties she has
been curating independently, primarily exhibits of art from recycled materials.
completed her BFA cum laude at Ohio University, receiving an NDEA Grant to
finish her Master’s degree at New York University and grants since from
the Jerome Foundation, Artists Space, Franklin Furnace Fund for Performance
Art, The Puffin Foundation & others. Nemec has presented her visual and
performance art in the U.S., Mexico, Hungary, Germany, Japan, Ireland and
artmaking is a way of translating my thoughts, fears and fantasies into
installations, performances, photographs, collages and poetry. With paper, torn
edges, found objects and images, I create a visual autobiography. Addressing
issues of relationship, loss and self-actualization (AKA Feminism) my
fragmented imagery, though seemingly disconnected, is imbued with complexities
and nuances that I feel reflect our 21st century lives.
In 1997 I
wrote: "My art is about anger, pain, pleasure, hopes, regrets, mistakes,
love, hate, freedom, recycling, adolescence, childhood, dolls, aging,
happiness, fantasies, dread, fear, beauty, nature, politics, power,
destruction, distraction, sexuality, sexism, feminism, spirituality, illness,
healing, drugs, envy, science, art, history, memories, dreams, nightmares,
hopelessness, confusion, play, daddy, mommy, secrets, lies, life, death,
detritus, innuendo, art making and chance." My art is about all that
still, regardless of what media I use.
In the late 70's & early 80's, I tackled
adolescent memories and wanting better love; feminism, artmaking and the
conflicts therein. In the nineties I struggled with issues of identity and
purpose and now in the twenty-first century, I have added the dilemma of aging.
A would-be dancer, singer and actor, I put all that, along with my
poetic ambitions, into my performance art. My visual artworks, have included
series of Haiku Collages, Body Prints, Dick Drawings & The Endless Junkmail
Scroll to name a few. I save everything, in case I can later turn it into art.
My studio, where I have lived & worked since 1972, is filled with the
detritus of my life, both frustrating & inspiring me.
Autobiography & what it is to be a female is a constant thread,
whether I am performing a word & movement piece (aka performance art) or
creating a physical artwork.”