Maggie Nowinski (MFA in Visual Art ’07) is an interdisciplinary visual artist, arts educator, and curator who lives and works in Western Massachusetts. Her work frequently exhibits throughout the New England region, as well as nationally. In addition to teaching at Westfield State University and Manchester Community College, Maggie also serves as an Artist-Teacher mentor for current MFA students at Vermont College of Fine Arts. When VCFA Visual Art faculty member, Humberto Ramirez, recommended Maggie’s work to be featured in the newest issue of Hunger Mountain: The VCFA Journal of the Arts, I instantly connected with her work, which explores “themes of internal and external processes.” Her drawings of botanicalized human organs are both familiar and utterly original. Maggie is an inspiration to me for her incredible artistic talents as well as her drive to persevere as an artist. She was kind enough to allow me to interview her. Here, we discuss her artistic life, as well as the development of her “signature style.”


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"TRANS" @Bromfield Gallery through March 27th, 2016

Ten New England artists imaginatively explore the meaning of TRANS--transition, transsexual, transportation, transcendent--in a wide variety of media.

Dan Dowd
James Dye
Rebekah Lord Gardiner
Melody Hadap
Craig Lupien
Nat Martin
Maggie Nowinski
Zoe Perry-Wood
Connie Saems
Cassandra Zampini

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I was invited to participate in the Northampton Ice Carving Festival. In planning for the event I became most interested in the experience of exploring a new medium and in the act of creating something on the spot in public for a specific duration of 6 hours. The process of creating the piece, and dealing with unexpected technical and feel issues inspired a kind of performative play in my approach. Interactions with the public about abstraction and creative process often surprises me and for the most part I found people to be interested seeing the transformation and even embracing the ambiguity of the sculpture's form as it developed.

eat me alive so that I may see you from the inside @ Gallery51, North Adams, Massachusetts

eat me alive so that I may see you from the inside
A collaborative exhibit exploring re-imagined biology and speculative fictions between artists Maggie Nowinski,  Alicia Renadette, & Torsten Zenas Burns - on view at MCLA Gallery 51, North Adams MA August 27th through October 24th, 2015. Book launch Sept 24th 6-9pm.

In this ongoing project, Antipyretic Abductions, focus is directed at what happens in the aftermath of consumptive transactions. This residual stage of internalization is an imagined space inhabited by drawings of creature-like characters, inspired by anatomical organs, somatic systems, micro-organisms and botanical diagrams.  They are immersed in a process, post-ingestion, of internal transformation and renewal. I conjure a relationship in which I both ingest and observe the activities in the depths of my body and turn these fictionalizations inside out not only for others to ingest and process, but also to expose and free them to interact and consume the external world. Their origin comes from my body, but their endurance is leashed to a relationship of absorption and regurgitation.

Creating work for this show over the last six months, I have observed and absorbed as the work of Alicia Renadette and Torsten Zenas Burns has evolved for eat me alive. We have exchanged inquiries through source imagery, ideas, making process sculptures together to engage with and respond to each other’s work, and performed research through semi-improvised actions for video on field trips curated by Torsten. As the work finally comes together on site in the gallery, digestion and observation, and seeing these works from the inside call fully commence and the exchange continues.  

Consumption, Anxiety, Internalization

I am recently acting as an observer to the affects of these habits. In the current era of the anthropocene, these innocent, slightly perverse beings float, interact, reproduce and morph, unintentionally nourished by human practices. They are not malicious, but are a fictionalized playful evolutionary response to daily ingestions of ideals, products and technology. Anxiety fed mutants subsisting in a sea of pure white or amidst the pigment stains of over-the-counter pain medication (OTC/NSAIDs).

Equating consumption with the intake of toxic substances, ideals and norms, antipyretic refers to something that brings down a fever, such as Tylenol or Advil. These pigments became a landscape from which creatures spawned and evolved.

Medical, Fossils, Botanical

While medical and botanical illustrations as well as photographs of living and fossilized sea creatures are among my source imagery, I stray from making direct copies in favor of fictionalized imagery that plays with the beautiful and the grotesque. The process of making these drawings is about observing and studying these forms as they emerge. 

The drawings explore slowness through line. While my practice has always included drawing my focus on it has intensified. They are made with pen and ink on paper and semi-transparent drafting films. Some of the drawings are layered, photographed and turned into composites, which are then transferred to intaglio prints through a photopolymer, aquatint process of printmaking. Other composites are blown up large scale to interact with the viewers’ space, provoking the sensation that these characters are now ingesting the viewer or the viewer has also been ingested.

Initially, the title Antipyretic Abductions was inspired by idea of experimentation and creativity. The 19th Century philosopher and mathematician Charles Peirce wrote: “…abduction is the process of forming explanatory hypotheses. It is the only logical operation which introduces any new idea”.