Nicola Vassell's Eponymous Gallery Showcases a Diverse Array of Talent

By Mason Alexander | November 15, 2021


Main room of Nicola Vassell Gallery. PHOTO COURTESY OF NICOLA VASSELL GALLERY, NEW YORK.
Main room of Nicola Vassell Gallery. PHOTO COURTESY OF NICOLA VASSELL GALLERY, NEW YORK.

Art adviser, curator, and luminary Nicola Vassell opened her eponymous gallery to widen the lens and shine a spotlight on a diverse array of brilliant talent.


Portrait of gallery owner Nicola Vassell. PHOTO BY MING SMITH
Portrait of gallery owner Nicola Vassell. PHOTO BY MING SMITH

As an art industry veteran, Nicola Vassell knew there was a need to widen the lens. The former curatorial director of The Dean Collection and No Commission, the contemporary family art collection and cultural platform of Swizz Beatz and Alicia Keys opened her eponymous gallery in Chelsea (nicolavassell.com) earlier this year to further focus on developing diverse contemporary artists.


Ming Smith, “Grace Jones, Studio 54” (1970s) ARTWORK PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ARTIST & NICOLA VASSELL GALLERY, NEW YORK
Ming Smith, “Grace Jones, Studio 54” (1970s) ARTWORK PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ARTIST & NICOLA VASSELL GALLERY, NEW YORK

The seasoned curator and adviser who sharpened her eye at esteemed spots like Pace Gallery and Deitch Projects has already added impressive artists to her new gallery’s roster like Harlem-based photographer Ming Smith. Smith was the first female member to join Kamoinge, the collective of Black photographers in New York City in the 1960s— and the first Black woman photographer to be included in the Museum of Modern Art’s collection. Her expressive, experimental, and atmospheric techniques capture an experience and a transformative mood rather than one moment.


Photographer Ming Smith. MING SMITH PHOTO BY BRANDON THOMAS BROWN
Photographer Ming Smith. MING SMITH PHOTO BY BRANDON THOMAS BROWN


Ming Smith, “Amen Corner Sisters” (Harlem, 1976) MING SMITH PHOTO BY BRANDON THOMAS BROWN
Ming Smith, “Amen Corner Sisters” (Harlem, 1976) MING SMITH PHOTO BY BRANDON THOMAS BROWN

The gallery also represents Alvaro Barrington, a Venezuelan-born artist raised between the Caribbean and Brooklyn. Themes of cross-cultural exchange, migration, and a commitment to community are woven throughout his body of work, while his medium ranges from painting to performances and incorporates nontraditional materials that reference his personal cultural history.


Artist Alvaro Barrington ALVARO BARRINGTON PHOTO BY JEREMIAH CUMBERBATCH
Artist Alvaro Barrington ALVARO BARRINGTON PHOTO BY JEREMIAH CUMBERBATCH


Alvaro Barrington, “1916- 224” (2021) ARTWORK PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ARTIST & NICOLA VASSELL GALLERY, NEW YORK
Alvaro Barrington, “1916- 224” (2021) ARTWORK PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ARTIST & NICOLA VASSELL GALLERY, NEW YORK


Alvaro Barrington, “Black Power” (2021). ARTWORK PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ARTIST & NICOLA VASSELL GALLERY, NEW YORK
Alvaro Barrington, “Black Power” (2021). ARTWORK PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ARTIST & NICOLA VASSELL GALLERY, NEW YORK


Alvaro Barrington, “What’s Next” (2021) ARTWORK PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ARTIST & NICOLA VASSELL GALLERY, NEW YORK
Alvaro Barrington, “What’s Next” (2021) ARTWORK PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ARTIST & NICOLA VASSELL GALLERY, NEW YORK

At Art Basel Miami this year, the gallery will present two artists at different stages in their careers: Alteronce Gumby and Fred Eversley. The Soho-based sculptor Eversley crafts cast resin and other materials and is best known for his Parabolic Lens Sculptures. After working as an engineer in the aerospace industry, Eversley’s work explores the metaphysics of light and color in response to a multitude of factors including the position of the viewer’s body. Fresh out of Yale’s MFA program in Painting & Printmaking, the New York City-based Gumby often works in acrylic paint, glass, and uncut gemstones crafting meditations on color and light.


Portrait of artist Fred Eversley FRED EVERSLEY PHOTO BY MARIA LARSSON/COURTESY OF FRED EVERSLEY STUDIO
Portrait of artist Fred Eversley FRED EVERSLEY PHOTO BY MARIA LARSSON/COURTESY OF FRED EVERSLEY STUDIO


Interior view of Nicola Vassell Gallery. ARTWORK PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ARTIST & NICOLA VASSELL GALLERY, NEW YORK
Interior view of Nicola Vassell Gallery. ARTWORK PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ARTIST & NICOLA VASSELL GALLERY, NEW YORK


Artist Alteronce Gumby ALTERONCE GUMBY PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ARTIST & NICOLA VASSELL GALLERY, NEW YORK
Artist Alteronce Gumby ALTERONCE GUMBY PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ARTIST & NICOLA VASSELL GALLERY, NEW YORK

As Vassell widens the gallery’s focus to include more and more artists, we can’t wait to see all the talent she brings to light.

Photography by: (Images credited above)