Nikolai Mahesh Noel and Matthew Pendleton Shelton met at Virginia Commonwealth University, where they were candidates in the Painting and Printmaking MFA program. In 2011, they collaborated on a series of drawings exploring power--both the way it exists and the way it is perceived--and their individual subject positions. Each artist tried to occupy an essentialized version of himself through the drawing process. Matt amped up his whiteness, Nikolai projected an impulsive resistance, enacting the roles of the Oppressor and the Oppressed.
From August 2 through August 9 2012, Noel and Shelton were invited by MOTORPARK to resume their collaboration at the ICA @ the Maine College of Art. On First Friday in August outside of the ICA, each artist produced 100 drawings of the other. In this this exercise, the artists use the image of the other in an effort to locate and see themselves, like a sonar signal.
During this week, the collaboration included occupying the ICA front window where they worked on a large-scale collaborative drawing and giving a performance titled "Reparations Points and Honky Jokes," followed by a lecture on their collaboration.