Christina Nicodema’s paintings are an exploration into the schisms of the food chain as it pertains to all living things. The work challenges the impossibility of reconciling the opposing notions of violence and empathy by detailing the endless cycle of dominance and submission present throughout all species and cultures. Exploiting the millennial lens and the language of a digitally native generation, she references the history of painting as both a transcript of Western civilization and an index of the gentrification of horror, addiction, and anxiety.
Nicodema’s work is intended to create a visual space that feels as true as reality- but where scale, spatial perspective, color, and conceptual juxtapositions are slightly distorted or sometimes entirely enhanced- as one might perceive the world while in the dream state. She builds her compositions and underpaintings by reimagining imagery gathered from the contemporary collective id: Google searches, Instagram fetishes, and the social-media information overload. Her work reveals the truths, anxieties, and desires that we collectively experience underneath our waking thoughts: the destruction of the natural environment, the endless violence of the food chain, and the human desire to gentrify everything. Just as the fundamental concept of truth has dissolved in our hyper-informed times, the stranger and more distorted these aesthetic ideals seem- and yet the more vividly real they become.
Employing the subtext of comfort, control, deprivation, and reward- she repurposes imagery of contemporary food fetishes and the natural world as a source of deep emotion, hierarchy, and ultimately dominance. By collapsing high and low aspects of image resolution against a myriad of traditional and modern painting techniques, Nicodema questions the relevance of linear time amidst the overload of endlessly stacked information. She digitally compiles themes, narratives, and abstractions to explore a primal aspect of Western culture: violence and survival as it has been depicted throughout the history of painting. The work is intended to expose the mental divide between the familial desire to nurture and the horror of instinctual maternal violence and control.