Kelly Niceley

The Bronx is the Greenest Borough

Overgrowth, Mixed Media, 2022

“The Bronx is New York City’s greenest borough —24% of the borough is considered parkland —yet environmentalists say that much of its green space is consolidated in large parks on the periphery of the borough, which are difficult to access for many residents."
- BronxTimes 12/9/2022

In response to the theme of "grounding" I consider my condition as a Bronx resident who has to "hustle" and confront more concrete than green on a daily basis. The irony for which I live in the greenest borough yet may not easily access green sheds light on inequities that I continually address through my artistic practice. This film entails my "search for green" in the Bronx, offering a virtual reality experience of a Bronxonian. This is how we find grounding.

Coupled with the film I offer a three-dimensional mixed media painting which refers to stills of the film. As it renders a likeness of leaves growing out of a train car, it mirrors the imagery of the film but also conveys its own sense of “overgrowth.” Tension is felt as the beauty of the overgrowth indicates the absence of humans and the intentional use of the car. I feel this piece refers to the tenuous relationship between mankind and nature, reflected in climate crises. This image is of a post human moment. Whether or not we can coexist, it is grounding to know the earth will ultimately heal itself.

Artist Bio

Niceley's work emphasizes a spirit of expression, collectivism, and justice. Often exploring themes of feminism and race, loss and  nostalgia, she employs a wide range of media to redefine portraiture across dimensions  and states of being.  She draws much of her inspiration from the common human experience.

In recent works she emphasizes the politics of identity through the incorporation of found collage elements from media and revelations of personal experiences in repurposed photographs.

Placed within vivid color fields, the subjects are given emotional context. The moods of the works range from “heated” to subdued. Tension is felt as Niceley harmonizes elements of beauty and pain, inviting the viewer to engage with as well as project historical and personal narratives reflected in the works.

Fundamentally, these pieces focus on pain and rage. Through memorial and celebration the artist elevates the oppressed—the marginalized—the survivors, thereby creating a greater sense of peace in the creator, and hopefully in the viewer.