Nicomi Nix Turner: Writhing & Withering @ Paradigm Gallery


Nicomi Nix Turner’s latest solo exhibition, Writhing & Withering, just opened at Paradigm Gallery + Studio

Turner is usually recognized for her intricately detailed black-and-white graphite illustrations that evoke surreal understandings of the connections between nature, alchemy, mythology, decay and birth.  Here’s a little peek into her latest collection where she tackles a new technique—finishing her works using beeswax, resin, and oil medium that gives the work a dreamy, otherworldly feel.

In her artist statement for Writhing & Withering, she explains, “Fruit plays the protagonist consumed by both the fearless and ignorant alike.”  Fleshing out tangible realms for her protagonists to flourish in is where Turner’s work turns gorgeously dark and romantic.  In her imaginative places, conjuring desire is left out to rot, worn in defiance, caught sweetly passing the lips and, left dangling from mouths in the midst of subtle revelations.  The works feast on the symbolic devices Turner has carried throughout earlier works – an offering sacrifice for renewal.


In this realm, “the consumption of fruit leaves mortality withering – holds the eater writhing in hallucinatory suspension.

It recalls me to scenes out of Christina Rossetti’s poem, “Goblin Market”, where fruit is also the protagonist.  The young character Laura, eats the goblins’ fruits and grows older afterwards, but it isn’t by learning and getting wiser.  Laura has eaten the fruit and now she knows its taste, but it damages her in a way. Her craving for the fruit becomes like that of an addict, she writhes as her inability to be satisfied causes her to become completely debilitated.

“I ate my fill, yet my mouth waters still”, Rossetti’s Laura, says desperately and listlessly to her sister – who ultimately becomes her savior.  The problem with the fruit in “Goblin Market” is expressed by Laura herself: “Who knows upon what soil they fed their hungry thirsty roots?” The distinction between good and evil blurs when the juices of the fruit also become what sustains Laura in the end …to take and to give.


Turner, in turn, explores the cultural and ideological meanings of fruit in celebration of nature and abundance while acknowledging its darker side.


As you walk around the gallery during her latest solo show at Paradigm Gallery + Studio in Philadelphia, the eyes of the women she has drawn into existence hold your gaze with their eyes, boldly defying you to write another ending for them.

The show’s strength is due in part to the her connection with these women. She knows who they are. The realness of their lives are validated in the details: the wisps of hair that halo about their heads, the crazy pattern work that adorns their clothes, the eyes that take you on explorations of women whose mysteries you want to know.

If their stories still elude you, Turner has evoked her tale into tangible grabs as three-dimensional sculpts of striped fruits grow outside the canvas and further your descent into her story.

“Writhing & Withering” uses devices that carry weight regardless of its subjects’ innate gifts or abilities, all while securing us, the viewer, in a visual inability to be sated.






†a version of this article was first published on the Paradigm Gallery + Studio  website


“Writhing & Withering” works by Nicomi Nix Turner
November 18, 2016 – January 7, 2017

Opening Reception
Friday, November 18th • 5:30pm – 10:00pm

Closing Reception
Friday, December 16th • 5:30pm – 10:00pm

Paradigm Gallery + Studio / 746 S. 4th Street, 1st Floor / Philadelphia, PA 19147

Social Media
Instagram: @_fernbeds_
Twitter: @fernbeds


There’s nothing I like more than good old fashioned folk-lore storytelling meant for children – mean enough and creepy enough to scare adults. Pair that up with a craft as delicate as weaving a story from threads and you have gold. Book gold, that is…

The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm has a fresh translation and enchanting new illustrations created by Romanian-born visual artist Andrea Dezsöto.  Her delicate ink drawings mimic monochromatic, delicate black and white paper layered cutouts – a great play on the light and dark elements in Grimm stories.

When asked how she chose which fairy tales and which particular scenes to illustrate? Dezsöto explained,  “I chose tales to illustrate that gave me immediate, strong, clear mental images as I read them,” explained Dezsö. “The scenes to be illustrated popped into my mind, often fully formed—like the whale rearing from the water with a man sitting in a tiny boat in front of it. I love tales that feature the devil or other nonhuman creatures, so that influenced my choices, too.”

I’m looking forward to tunneling through the stories in between the spaces of Dezsöto illustrations.


Take the time and pour through this wonderful interview with artist, Andrea Dezsöto here at Brain Pickings.

via MyModernMet


‘The Twelve Brothers’


‘The Frog King, or Iron Henry’


‘The Singing Bone’


‘The Golden Key’


‘Herr Fix-It-Up’


‘The Godfather’


‘The Devil in the Green Coat’


Ideal Boy3

Ideal Boy2

Ideal Boy




As soon as I read the chain on the boys neck I was hooked (it reads YOLO btw).

A LITTLE BACKGROUND: We have Dick & Jane here in America to look up to during our tender adolescence – they gave direction on everything from our grammar to beautiful table manners.

In India there’s IDEAL BOY – also a colorful, well drawn guide to morality and correct social behavior.

If you’re still familiar with that sort of cartoonesque push to perfect way- some kids, then Trivedi’s illustrations will make you smile unless you grew up living a radical life – then I guess all this is a snooze for you.

But if you’re currently ‘still’ trying to break free of those cultural morals, then this popular ‘Ideal Boy’ series remix is hysterical.

Or at least it is to me…and the rest of the goody too shoes.

*Found on my now favorite South Asian Art blog, Masala Chai.


The new Escif illustration "Batalla Campal" translated, 'Royal Battle'

What I love about Escif’s work is its ability to deal with weighty issues in an often non confronting way. Escif’s has a particular way with illustrative forms of storytelling, translating an evolving understanding of global thoughts/politics onto a wall .

This new Escif illustration “Batalla Campal” translates as ‘Royal Battle’ – it plays like an urban toile – moving in for the closer inspection you’ll find hidden in the repeating decoration the crux of the message.


The new Escif illustration "Batalla Campal"