18 August - 14 September 2022

WOAW Gallery is pleased to present SEA, I’M AWAKE at its Queen’s Road location in Central. The solo exhibition features acrylic works from Bianca Nemelc, a figurative painter whose practice lives within the profound and nourishing correspondence between the human body and the natural world.


Born and raised in the urban city landscape of New York City, much of Bianca Nemelc’s practice pulls inspiration from imagined narratives and her own Caribbean heritage as she reconnects with her ancestral roots and finds new revelations in how humans coexist with nature. In SEA, I’M AWAKE, the artist makes use of fanciful brushstrokes to explore the possibilities for brown bodies and the waters to synchronise in harmony and find comfort in one another. The result is a body of wondrous paintings portrayed in the serene colours of earth tones, breathing with ease in the fluid compositions of effortless balance.


The element of water is a frequent theme for the artist, owing to her perception of rivers, oceans, and seas as points of intersection between the living and the spiritual. Almost like yin and yang, these water bodies exist between freedom and captivity, the unpredictable wilderness and the mother of all things tranquil, and forgetting and remembering—for just as the tides pull away and push back again, the water quietly lets us know, “I’m still here.”


On top of the rich hues of brown in the figures depicted in her paintings, the artist also has a fascination with the wide spectrum of colours that carries different bodies of water, from the brightest Caribbean blues to blood-stained copper waterfalls of the Antarctic. One of the most powerful qualities of water, she says, is its ability to transform and become a reflection of whatever it inhabits. The flesh-coloured waves in her recent collection of work, for instance, are a contemplation of the body’s pink flesh hidden beneath melanated skin—“both cannibalised by the ocean and cradled with love in the same breath.”


The artist divulges, “It is imperative to my own self-discovery to create safe spaces within my work to meditate on these dualities, because they are the same that exist within myself.” Bianca Nemelc concludes, “SEA, I’M AWAKE is a loud declaration and a quiet acknowledgement of the kinship between body and water.”