Dona Nelson is a painter who often works both sides of a stretched canvas, staining and washing it with acrylic paint and water, using a spatula to mark the canvas with the first image, an image of the stretcher bars. Sometimes she glues strips of fabric on to the canvas, allowing them to be a constructed element or ripping them off them off to establish a drawn line through the paint. Nelson prefers to exhibit her two sided paintings on steel stands or wooden constructions, out on the gallery floor rather than parallel to the wall. For forty years, Nelson has made series of different kinds of paintings, distinguished by a variety of approaches to both image and material.Read More
Nelson was born in Grand Island in 1947. She received a B.F.A. from Ohio State University (1968), and studied at the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program (1967). She is a Professor of Painting and Drawing at Tyler School of Art, Temple University, Philadelphia, where she has worked since 1991. In the summer of 2018, she had an extensive survey of her work, curated by Ian Berry, at the Tang Teaching Museum in Saratoga Springs, New York. There was another survey of her work in 2000, at the Weatherspoon Museum of Fine Art, Greensboro, North Carolina. She currently exhibits her work at the Thomas Erben Gallery in New York City, where she has had five solo exhibitions. Two of her double-sided paintings were featured in the 2014 Whitney Biennial. Other solo exhibitions have been presented at Cheim and Read, the Morris Gallery at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, and the Michael Klein Gallery, NYC. In 1994, Nelson received a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship. In 2011, she was a Foundation for Contemporary Arts recipient. In 2013, she received an Artist Legacy Foundation Grant and in 2015, an Anonymous was a Woman Grant.
Text courtesy Thomas Erben Gallery.