BIO

San Francisco artist Kate Nichols synthesizes nanoparticles to mimic structurally colored animals, grows artificial skin from microorganisms, and makes her own paints, following fifteenth-century recipes. The long tradition of painters as material innovators inspired Nichols to become the first artist-in-residence in the Alivisatos Lab, a nanoscience laboratory at UC Berkeley. In 2010, she was appointed a TED Fellow and was awarded a Jacob K. Javits Fellowship. Her artwork has been featured on the cover of the journal Nature, on the TED stage, and in The Leonardo Museum’s permanent collection. In 2015, Nichols was awarded the Richard Diebenkorn Teaching Fellowship, an honor SFAI extends to one early- to mid-career painter each year. 

 

CONTACT

nicholskate [at] gmail.com

 

CV

AWARDS, FELLOWSHIPS, and RESIDENCIES

2015  Richard Diebenkorn Teaching Fellow, San Francisco Art Institute 

2015  Scientific Delirium Madness Residency, Djerassi Artist-in-Residence Program 

2010 – present  TED Fellow 

2008 – 2016  Artist-in-residence, Alivisatos Nanoscience Lab, University of California, Berkeley 

2010 – 2013  Jacob K. Javits Fellow 

 

TEACHING EXPERIENCE

2016  Visiting Faculty, San Francisco Art Institute

2015  Richard Diebenkorn Teaching Fellow, San Francisco Art Institute

2015  Public Education Instructor, San Francisco Art Institute. 

2008  Graduate Student Instructor, University of California, Berkeley 

 

EDUCATION

2013  Master of Fine Arts, California College of the Arts, San Francisco, California 

2010  Master of Arts in Visual Studies, University of California, Berkeley 

2004  Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art, Kenyon College, Gambier, Ohio

 

SOLO and TWO-PERSON EXHIBITIONS

2017  Solo exhibition: Angle of Incidence, Black Crown Gallery, Oakland, California 

2012  Solo exhibition: Through the Looking Glass, The Leonardo, Salt Lake City, Utah 

2010  Solo exhibition: Scaled, Materials Research Society, San Francisco, California 

2009  Solo exhibition: Drawings: Scaled, Mauve, Berkeley, California 

2008  Two-person exhibition: Traces, Untitled Gallery, Sausalito, California 

2005  Solo exhibition: Solidity Under Mind, LMan Gallery, Los Angeles, California 

 

SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2015  Article Biennial 2015, Stavanger Kunstmuseum, Stavanger, Norway, (curated by Hege Tapio) 

2015  Observations and Collections, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado 

(curated by Jennifer Kent) 

2013 MFA Exhibition, California College of the Arts (curated by Glen Helfand) 

2012  Emergence and Structure, Lafayette College, Easton, Pennsylvania; MDC Freedom Tower Gallery, Miami, Florida; University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida (curated by Daniel Hill and Ron Janowich; catalogue essay by Jonah Lehrer) 

2011  New Insight 2011, Chicago, Illinois (curated by Susanne Ghez and Mia Ruyter) 

2009  Enormous Microscopic, Studio for Urban Projects, San Francisco, California, 

(curated by Phil Ross) 

2008  30 under 30, Juried Exhibition, Varnish Gallery, San Francisco, California (curated by 

Kerri Stephens, Jennifer Rogers, and Justin Giarla) 

2007  Tales in Red and Pink, Mina Dresden Gallery, San Francisco, California 

2004  Juried Exhibition, Chung-Cheng Gallery, St. John’s University, Jamaica, New York 

2004  Go Figure, Circle Gallery, Annapolis, Maryland 

2003  Great Lakes Emerging Artists Competition, SUNY, Fredonia, New York (First place) 

2003  Hand Art, Penn Gallery, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 

 

MUSEUM COLLECTIONS

The Leonardo, Salt Lake City, Utah

 

SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS

2016  BergamoScienza, Bergamo, Italy 

2016  Mills College Art Lecture Series, Mills College Art Museum, Oakland, California 

2016  Science of Art Lecture Series, Stanford University, Stanford, California 

2016  Visiting Artist and Scholar Lecture Series, San Francisco Art Institute 

2015  Exploring Science in the Studio, AICAD Symposium, California College of the Arts, San Francisco 

2015  Djerassi Artist-in-Residence Program, Woodside, California 

2015  Stavanger Kunstmuseum, Stavanger, Norway 

2014  San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, California 

2013  Leonardo public lecture series talk, Stanford University, Stanford, California 

2012  Analogous Thinking in the Arts and Sciences public lecture series talk, University of Florida, Gainsville 

2012  TEDxRainier, Seattle, Washington 

2012  TEDActive, Palm Springs, California 

2012  Salon Panorama, San Francisco, California 

2010  3M, Minneapolis, Minnesota 

2010  The Exploratorium, San Francisco, California 

2010  The Case Foundation, Washington D.C. 

2010  TED, Long Beach, California 

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Artwork featured as cover: 

2012  Through the Looking Glass featured on cover of Nature, March 22, 2012. 

Feature articles: 

2015  “The Ambiguous Colors of Nanotechnology,” Jeanne Carstensen, Nautilus. 

2015  “Color by Shape,” Jyoti Madhusoodanan, ACS Science Central. 

2012  “Plasmons Resonate in Atomic-Scale Metal Particles,” Andrew Myers, Stanford University Engineering News. 

2010  “TED Fellow using nanoparticle paint,” Kristen Phillipkoski, BoingBoing. 

2010  “Body of Evidence,” Kristen Phillipkoski, BoingBoing. 

2010  “Color by Physics,” Lauren Rugani, Symmetry Magazine, Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. 

Q&A: 

2016  “Fusing Age-Old Artistic Tradition With Cutting-Edge Technology: A Q-and-A with Kate Nichols, artist in residence at a nanoscience laboratory,” Emily Tamkin, Slate Magazine, September 20, 2016. 

Featurette: 

2010  “Introducing TED Fellow: Kate Nichols,” Helen Walters, Business Week. 

Documentary: 

2011  The Leonardo Museum produced a short film to accompany my installation, Through the Looking Glass

which is also featured on theleonardo.org. 

2010  “Color by Nano: The Art of Kate Nichols,” ran on two shows, Gallery Crawl and Quest: Science on the Spot

on KQED Public Television, San Francisco. 

Catalogue: 

2012  Emergence and Structure. (Catalogue essay by Jonah Lehrer.) 

2015  Article Bienniale, Satvanger Kunstmuseum. (Catalogue essay by Nora S. Vaage.) 

Artwork featured and discussed in scholarly journal article: 

2013  “Engineering plasmonic metal colloids through composition and structural design,” N. E. Motl, A. F. Smith, and C. J. DeSantis, Chemical Society Reviews.