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Established Gallery is pleased to present A Soil Thick With Promise by Natalia Nakazawa, curated by Katherine Gressel. A price list may be found HERE. The show runs from Saturday, June 3 – Sunday, June 25 with an opening reception on Saturday, June 3 from 1-3pm.


An artist talk will be held at Established Gallery on Thursday, June 8 from 6:30-8:30pm. Free tickets for the artist talk may be reserved here.



be careful

i am fertile

a soil thick with promise

a mouth full of petals

you can feel when you are near me

how i may touch you

and you may blossom…


…be careful

i am fertile

dream by my river

whisper longings under my moon

if the world says yes, i feel it

watch, i’ll unfurl in every direction

to let tomorrow through


  • Adrienne Maree Brown


Natalia Nakazawa’s work engages with themes of transnationality, diasporic contexts, migration patterns, storytelling, archiving, and institutional critique at a time when such issues are at the forefront of current political debates. A Soil Thick with Promise, the artist’s first solo exhibition, features new painting, textile and ceramic work centered around the form of the vessel. Also incorporating waves, butterflies and other symbols of transition as well as patterns from diverse cultural influences, these works ask questions like, “What do we carry with us? What can we preserve? What do we promise ourselves? What moves us?” 


The exhibition title, taken from pleasure theorist Adrienne Maree Brown’s poem be careful, i am fertile, alludes to the radical importance of pleasure in confronting personal and collective transition and loss, and in creating and experiencing art. The title also directly references soil as the source material for the clay vessels on display. Natalia first started making small vessel paintings while working from home and grieving lost family members during the pandemic lockdown,“haunted” by this shape and its multiple associations: history, domesticity, burial rituals. Natalia eventually began to translate this form into flat ceramic objects, finding pleasure and social connection in the material’s tactile and utilitarian nature. Yet the two-dimensional vessels serve more as signposts than functional containers, suggesting the impossibility of retaining everything of value.


Natalia has long been fascinated by comprehensive cultural institutions, collapsing layered representations of objects from museum collections into her paintings and textiles in order to reconsider these institutions’ alienating structures and question national identities. Her specific vessel forms were inspired by the handmade coil pots of the Jomon period of Japanese history before the existence of nation-states. Several large tapestries on view combine linen textiles (most originating in the artist’s family), paint layered to resemble flowing water, and other collaged elements, installed in patterns found around the world in basket weavings and rugs. Mixed perspectives and interrupted sequences reject a single linear narrative. The four different clays in the vessels also contribute to the work’s rich hybridity, or the sense that it could, in the words of Brown, “unfurl in every direction.” 




Natalia Nakazawa is a NYC-based interdisciplinary artist. Utilizing strategies drawn from a range of experiences in the fields of education, arts administration, and community activism, her work negotiates spaces between institutions and individuals, often inviting participation and collective imagining. Blurring the boundaries between administrative and education practices with more traditional studio art practices, Natalia brings a deeply collaborative approach to her work. Natalia received her MFA in studio practice from California College of the Arts, a MSEd from Queens College, and a BFA in painting from the Rhode Island School of Design. Her work has recently been exhibited at Wave Hill (Bronx, NY), (Arlington Arts Center (Washington, DC), Transmitter Gallery (Brooklyn, NY), The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, NY), American Folk Art Museum Gallery (Long Island City, NY), Wassaic Project (Wassaic, NY), The Old Stone House in Brooklyn (NY). Natalia has been an artist in residence at The Children’s Museum of Manhattan, MASS Moca, SPACE on Ryder, Wassaic Project, Facebook AIR, Interlude Artist Residency, CAMPO Garzon, and Wave Hill Winter Workspace.




Katherine Gressel is a New York City-based independent curator focused on site specific and participatory art in nontraditional spaces. She is currently the Contemporary Curator at the Old Stone House & Washington Park (OSH), where she oversees artists and guest curators realizing ambitious solo projects and thematic group shows responding to the history and design of this historic house and local park. In addition to organizing over a dozen major exhibitions to date at OSH, Katherine has curated and produced artist projects for Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Arts Gowanus, Smack Mellon, FIGMENT, No Longer Empty, St. Francis College, and Brooklyn Historical Society, and was the 2016 NARS Foundation emerging curator.  Her work has been recognized by the New York Times, Hyperallergic, Time Out NY, and CBS News. Katherine has written and presented on art and social impact for Americans for the Arts and Public Art Dialogue, among others. Katherine also served as Programs Manager at Smack Mellon Gallery from 2010-2014, and has worked and consulted for diverse nonprofits. She earned her BA in art from Yale and MA in arts administration from Columbia.


Artist/Curator Talk: June 8th, 6:30pm

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