'I aim for my abstract paintings to have a quality of specific image and my figurative paintings to have a quality of material reality.'–Dona Nelson
Thomas Erben is pleased to announce Stretchers Strung Out On Space, an exhibition of new paintings by Dona Nelson, her eighth presentation with the gallery. Praised for her individuality, Nelson has established herself as an artist committed to thoroughly exploring the progressive potentiality of her practice, wherever it may lead. Over time, Nelson has employed a wide repertoire of materials as well as approaches and processes. Each painting is individually conceived resulting in a great variety of compositions and images.
Stretchers Strung Out On Space features a series of 'boxes', freestanding figurative works painted from live models. Nelson prefers to have another presence in the studio which makes working from a model, or collaborating with her assistants, an intrinsic element of her practice. Similarly her work solicits an active participation by the viewer.
Her celebrated two-sided canvases, for example, invite us to consider two planes which often are visually very different but–materially–interdependent. Not being able to observe both at once the viewer feels compelled to remember the opposite side, trying to reconcile how each forms the other. To do so, Nelson forces the viewer to circumnavigate the paintings, making the surrounding space as conceptually active as the works themselves.
Nelson has said of her work, "I am not an expressionist. I am a materialist." - not intentionally making paintings to express emotions or ideas outside of the materiality of the painting itself.
Part of Nelson's originality lies in her approach to not replace the reality of the canvas with an idea or a repetitious image. To work as she does, it requires complete presence in the moment and full focus on the physicality of painting.
Press release courtesy Thomas Erben Gallery.