Nice n’ Easy
We’re All in This Together, 2021
July 9 – August 22, 2021
The Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami (MOCA) is pleased to present its most recent Art on the Plaza commission, We’re All in This Together by Miami-based collaborative Nice’n Easy.
For this playful yet thought-provoking temporary public installation, MOCA’s front fountain is cleverly transformed to resemble a swimming pool with the addition of a ladder, bright, kitschy pool toys, and human characters. Disrupting the pleasant scene, each of the configurations of objects introduce an element of the uncanny; what at first seems familiar to the eye reveals something unexpected, humorous, and at times, dark. Other things are not as they seem: the pool floaties are actually cast in a urethane resin in an experimental process as sculptural, not found objects.
The overall installation incorporates several individual artworks: in Life Saver, a single hand protrudes alarmingly from the water, ringed by a neon pink inner tube. The hand that seems to be reaching for help may be unaware of how close the floatation device actually is, or is in blatant disregard of its potential to help. Viewers are challenged to grapple with this life-or-death situation – but are also reminded of the humorous internet meme Drowning High Five (circulated widely by Russian artist Gudim during the COVID-19 pandemic). In this meme, a hand emerging from water is met with a high-five and the caption “We’re all in this together,” rather than rescue. The drowning hand then slips below the waves in a tragic-comic expression of misguided optimism and abject denial of reality. Nice n’ Easy’s appropriation advances this sentiment by considering the efficacy / misuse of self-help and the application of psycho-spiritual wellness philosophies throughout society and the world. If we have the choice to save ourselves, would we? Additional pieces, Tunnel of Love, Soft Totem, Head in the Sand, But…, and Just Hang in There further trouble these notions of escapism, surrender, and disavowal.
We’re All in This Together attempts to navigate the line from when a mystic truth becomes a cliché. During difficult times, when the entire world’s collective mental health is reduced to a meme, can a shallow pop-culture image function as a means for transcendent reflection?
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Nice’n Easy is a collaborative endeavor by artists Allison Matherly and Jeffrey Noble. Focused on creating immersive mixed media installations, Nice’n Easy develops a visually cohesive subtropical vernacular with their material choices and use of repeated motifs. Often referencing themes of self-help, recovery, and interpersonal dependency, their fabricated environments utilize romantic tropes to enhance the collective emotive truisms between participants and create a platform for intimate exchange.