Vernita Nemec AKA Vernita N'Cognita's first installation artworks 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 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.
Always a 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.
The artist added "N’Cognita" to her name to honor all unknown artists and has been active as a visual/performance artist/curator when she co-curated “X-12”, one of the first feminist art shows of the period, and worked with Artworkers Coalition (AWC), Women Artists in Revolution (WAR), and Artists Meeting for Cultural Change
In the 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 has serving on the Board of Directors of Soho 20, a feminist gallery also in Chelsea and since the mid-nineties she has been curating independently, primarily exhibits of art from recycled materials.
The artist 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 France.
“My 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.
Before that, 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.”
Nemec, also known as N'Cognita to honor underknown artists, has presented more than 70 performance artworks in the United States, Hungary, Japan, Ireland, Germany, Mexico and France, including guerrilla performances at the Pompidou Museum in Paris, Documenta 13 in Kassel. Butoh adapted forms an important aspect of her performance work. often solo or in conjunction with the musician Sean Carolan incorporates voice, transformation, drawn from autobiography and persobnal revelation was selected for the 2nd time by Movement Research at Judson Dance Theater. Her visual art of primarily mixed media collages & installations has been used as props & sets for her performances and presented in more than 20 solo exhibitions in the United States, Ireland and Hungary. Outstanding is her ongoing Endless Junkmail Scroll begun in 2006 and continuing to be presented as it grows. Her visual art is in the collections of MOMA, the Savaria Museum in Hungary, Sylvia Sleigh Collection of Feminist Art@Rowan University, Asian American Art Center, Franklin Furnace, Fairfax Hospital in Viirginia, Groupa Junij, Belgrade and many private collections.
BFA Ohio University
MA, New York University
Additional study: SVA; Naropa Institute; Performance Writing, Simone Forti;
Butoh and performance theory with many noted Japanese & American performers including Noboru Kamita, Eiko of Eiko & Komo, at PICA in Portland OR with Deborah Hay & Akira Kasai, and most recently Body Resonance at Schloss Broellin in Germany with Yumiko Yoshioka. Butoh “adapted” forms an important aspect of her performance work.
2014 Movement Research@Judson Memorial Church, NYC
2013 Theater for the New City, NYC, LES Festival
2012-13Schloss Homberg, Germany
SOHO 20, Savoir Faire, NYC
Documenta 13, (guerrilla performance) Kassel, Germany
2011 Galerie Nord, San Antonio, Tx
2010 Fieldwork, Dance Theater Workshop, NYC; WAH Center, Brooklyn
2009 Movement Research@Judson Memorial Church, NYC
2008 University Settlement Theater, NYC; Dinnerware, Tucson, AZ;
2007 Sackler Center for Feminist Art@Brooklyn Museum; Monster Truck Gallery, Dublin, Ireland
2006-07(guerrilla performance), Pompidou, Paris, France
2005 Vogelfrei 6, Darmstadt, GR.(catalog)
2004-11 Linda Montano's 7 Year Performance,
2003 Fine Arts Bldg Gallery, Chicago IL
2002 Performance Studies International Conference, NYU, NYC
2001 Atelier Juvan, Offenbach, Germany; 7th Performance Studies Conference, Mainz, Germany
2000 Soho20, NYC
1999 Five Cities Project, Tokyo, Japan
1998 the Edge Festival, LES NYC
1995-90 Cami Hall, NYC, 1992 Cunningham Studio, NYC', 1990 La Mama La Galleria, NYC
1989 BACA Downtown, Spontaneous Combustion, Brooklyn NY; La Mama La Galleria, NYC:
1986 Guggenheim (WCA);Experimental Intermedia, NYC:
1985 Franklin Furnace, NYC & The Woman's Building, Los Angeles, CA; Douglass College, New Brunswick,
2007 Monster Truck Gallery, Dublin, Ireland
2005 Central Wyoming College, Riverton WY., Gallery 128, NYC
2001 SE Missouri State University Museum
1999 Westchester Community College, NY,
1995 NIH, Bethesda, Maryland
1993 ARTPOOL, Budapest, Hungary;
1985 Women's Building, Los Angeles, CA,
AWARDS & HONORS
2013 Movement Research Monday Night Series
2012 KICKSTARTER- for “Sighs & Whispers” presentation in Germany
2011 NACL- North American Cultural Laboratory Residency, The Field
2010 FarSpace Grant, The Field
2009 Movement Research Monday Night Series
2008 Field Work at EarthDance, Massachusetts, Artist in Resident
2007 Puffin Grant for Art From Detritus Exhibit
2004-2011 7 Years of Living Art, created by Linda Montano
2000 Travel Grant, Performance Studies International (PSI) Mainz, Gr.
1997 IACP Grant from THE FIELD, NYC
1995 Kauffman Foundation (for "Art from Detritus"), Kansas City MO
1988 Jerome Foundation (Franklin Furnace Fund for Performance Art)
1986,87 NYSCA (Experimental Intermedia & Snug Harbor Cultural Center)
1985 NEA (Los Angeles Women's Building & Franklin Furnace)
“Art People”, The New York Times, February 1981 - Grace Glueck
New York Post, February 1981 - Jerry Tallmer
Uj Tukor, November 1981 - Ban Andras
High Performance, Spring/Summer 1982 - Linda Burnham
Women’s Art Journal, vol.3#1 summer 1982 – Ellen Lubell, Women Artists:Self-Image, pg.12,13
The Village Voice, February 21, 1984 - Lucy Lippard
The New Yorker, January 7, 1991 - Goings on About Town
The New York Times, March 17, 1991 - Kathleen Beckett
The Daily Courier, March 15, 1993 - Budapest
"The Power of Feminist Art", 1994, Harry Abrams (Pub), edited by Norma Broude & Mary Garrard
“The Pink Glass Swan: Selected Feminist Essays on Art”, 1995, Lucy Lippard
Gallery & Studio, “NY Notes”, summer 2000
“Performance Artists Talking in the Eighties”, Linda Montano, California Press, 2000
Gallery & Studio, “NY Notes”, "N'Cognita & Company", Jan./Feb. 2001
The Art of Mary Beth Edelson, D.A.P.Publishers, 2002 (interview w Nancy Spero)
Art Calendar, summer 2002, Donna Marxer
The Nation, 9/23/02, “The Art of 9/11” by Arthur Danto, + photo
Hottle, Andrew, “Groundbreaking: The Women of the Sylvia Sleigh Collection”, 2011
http://chelseagallerista.blogspot.c.... February 28, 2011
represent: the painting life David Dorsey’s blog 'Invisibility made visible/ February 20th, 2012”