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Jill Nathanson
the air we swim in

Messineo Art Projects and Wyman Contemporary are pleased to present the air we swim in, a series of compelling abstract paintings by Jill Nathanson. These arresting works continue her passionate study of "the world of things" as she seeks to create fresh symbols of an intense, personal "inner world." Her latest probe of her deep emotions is brilliantly realized in this group of seven allusive paintings.

Here Nathanson focuses firmly on form and color, bypassing the grid system to summon an array of rich and subtle tones. Paint is loosely applied, layered and scattered on the panel with acrylic in polymer resin -- all in an effort to make the paintings appear infinite. In fact, each painting is an independent construct: a unique architecture of colored forms in an non-illusionist, non-perspective space that belongs exclusively to the painting.

"Painting mirrors aspects of experience that common language misses," she says. "I start with color, light and flux on one hand; liquid and denser paint, support and object on the other. And then there is my own responding eyes, body and self.  The paintings pay homage (as evidenced in Bowtie, 2012), I hope, to active, semi-impossible color spaces in the works of artists I love: Cezanne, Morris Louis, Hans Hoffman, early Richard Tuttle. But painting now is painting in a different time, and I end up painting about the basic stuffs of painting, which make painting, I think unique."

As art critic Karen Wilkin points out, "All of this is expressed in terms of what Nathanson calls 'color desire,' by which she means the reciprocal tensions created among hues placed side by side or disposed across the surface of the canvas -- tensions that animate her images spatially and emotionally, and provoke a wide range of associations." She notes that Nathanson can pull structures into harmony with unexpected, often "very beautiful 'color chords' ." She adds that the artist is "also willing to risk blowing a composition apart by the same means."

Nathanson, the writer observes, "broadens the argument by exploring the varied implications of agitated and smooth handling, crisp and shaggy edges, uninflected planes and nervous hand gestures, taking full advantage of modern acrylic paints and additives to achieve contrasts to matteness and gloss, opacity and transparency. Scales shift, making what is before us seem mutable."*

Nathanson, who is based in New York City, has a BA from Bennington College and an MFA from Hunter College.  She has had solo exhibitions at Hunter College Gallery, Yale University, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Philadelphia Museum of Jewish Art, Roanoke College (VA) and many other New York museums. Her work has been in group exhibitions in Toronto, Zurich, Stamford (CT), Framingham (MA), Bennington (VT) and  Palm Beach, among others.

* From Color as Structure: Structure as Color ( Karen Wilkin, New York and Orvieto, July 2007)

November 1 - December 20, 2012

511 West 25th Street, Suite 504
New York, NY 10001

Gallery Hours: Wed-Sat 12-6
Opening Reception:
Thursday November 15, 6-8

Jill Nathanson
Synthetic Polymer and Acrylic on Panel
18 x 18 inches

Past Exhibitions

Gregory Forstner: Study for an American Archetype

The Long Fight for Kawtoolie: Portraits from the Jungles of Burma

America: The Third Century


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