image by Joyelle West
At its core, my practice is about radical joy and liberation. Each piece reveals a process record as a roadmap to bridging the heart and mind. Stories contain emergent themes of our human experience on a micro and macro level engaged with the language of abstraction. Multivalent materiality, linguistic mark-making, biomorphic shapes, fractured planes, and experimentation celebrate the parallels between rigorous play and invention. As a political act of collective care, I employ layering, animating tools, and scale to occupy and energize space with vibrancy. Layers of paint and other materials consider the tensions between space, perception, and belonging. My practice asks for a willingness to reconsider our relationship with the unknown and locate ourselves in the constellation of infinite possibilities.
Cicely Carew (b. 1982, Los Angeles, CA) is a Boston-based artist, educator, and wellness coach whose multimedia works blur the boundaries between disciplines in an expression of sensory transfiguration and delight. Working from a place of improvisation and spiritual embodiment, Carew’s unique language of abstraction signals the transformative power of joy and liberation. Her artistic practice spans immersive installations, collages, sculptural assemblages, painting, and video/sound meditations. This diverse studio output is united by a characteristic vibrancy of color and exuberant gesture that extends into the multi-dimensional, thereby inviting viewers to ease into a realm of healing and play. Through an accumulation of layered compositions and materiality, Carew fashions tactile celebrations of the unknown and offers an understanding of the world that transcends the immediately perceptible. In her whimsical and lush ecosystems abounding with infinite possibilities and interpretations, she conveys a mode of re-centering that incites a conscious alignment between heart and mind.
Carew’s public art commissions function on various scales, and frequently occupy and energize space as a political act of collective care. With these spatial interventions, she is especially interested in creating new ways of sensing and being in the world that highlight the wonder and beauty of connection. In 2021, Carew completed Ambrosia, a site-specific commission for Boston Properties and Now+There at the Prudential Center. This 5,000 sq. ft. installation took the shape of three-dimensional paintings, and mobilized an embodied engagement with art—viewers were invited to walk around and under the suspended mixed-media hybrids, and to peek through their cascading, ethereal layers. Also, in 2021, Carew was commissioned by Peloton to create chromatic installations that activated their Chelsea and Madison Avenue storefronts in New York City. In July 2023, she will unveil her public art commission titled Wishing Well as part of the Jewish Arts Collaborative’s “Be the Change” initiative. This interactive pyramid meditation space will address the complex process of healing mental health and ancestral trauma in BIPOC communities, thus serving as a reminder that when one is helped, all will benefit.
Carew completed her MFA at Lesley Art + Design in Cambridge and her BFA at Massachusetts College of Art + Design in Boston. She served as Artist in Residence at Shady Hill School, MA, taught mixed media and printmaking for the New Art Center in Newton and Maud Morgan Arts in Cambridge, MA, and screenprinting at Lesley University, MA.
Recent solo exhibitions include the Fuller Craft Museum (forthcoming 2025); ICA Boston (forthcoming 2023); Fitchburg Art Museum (2022); The Commons Provincetown (2021); Simmons University (2020), and Northeastern University (2017). Her work can be found in the permanent collections of Fitchburg Art Museum; the U.S Consulate in Chiang Mai, Thailand; the U.S Department of State’s Office of Art in Embassies (AIE); Google; Fidelity Investments; Simmons University’s Ifill Archive; Northeastern University’s Archive; the Cambridge Arts Council; and the Federal Reserve of Boston. Carew’s honors include the BYN Mellon Blanche E. Colman award (2022); Cambridge Art Council’s Art for Social Justice grant (2021); The Stay Home Gallery residency (2021); and the St. Botolph Club Foundation Emerging Artist award (2021), Brother Thomas Fellowship (2023).
Carew was recently awarded the ICA Boston’s James and Audrey Foster Prize, which will include a three-person exhibition opening in August 2023. She currently resides with her son in Cambridge, MA.