Nicole Duennebier was born in Hartford, Connecticut in 1983. She
received her Bachelor of Fine Arts at Maine College of Art with a
major in painting. Her BFA thesis work was most influenced by research
into the coastal ecosystems of Maine. In 2006 she was awarded the
Monhegan Island Artists Residency. On the island she continued her
work with sea life, and perceived a natural connection between the
darkness and intricacy of undersea regions and the aesthetic of
16th-century Dutch still-life painting.

In 2008 Duennebier moved to the Boston area, and now lives and works
in Malden. She is a 2016 Massachusetts Cultural Council Painting
Fellow and her work can be found in the permanent collection of the
New Britain Museum of American Art. Writing about Bright Beast, her
2013 solo show at the Lilypad in Cambridge, Cate McQuaid of the Boston
Globe said Duennebier’s “technical mastery gives the artist what she
needs to seduce the viewer; the content lowers the boom.”  Duennebier
has also been featured in the Portland Press Herald, Art New England
and Hi-Fructose Magazine, among other publications. Duennebier has
worked alongside her sister Caitlin Duennebier for a number of
collaborative exhibitions, most recently “Love Superior, a Death Supreme” at Simmons University. Earlier this year, she was featured in a solo
exhibition, Pushing Painting, at the David Winton Bell Gallery at
Brown University.

Exhibition Image with me_.jpg


Natural phenomenon—dermoid cysts, fungus, invasive flora/fauna—and my love of candied, old-master opulence have a constant presence in my work. Through painting with attention to detail, I’ve become accustomed to the fact that nature itself, or anything living really, never totally allows you to have a perfectly idealized experience. Everything is always spewing, dripping, rotting a little. Similar to 17th century still-life paintings with those vibrant lusty fruits that show the light fuzz of beginning decay, I don’t see these works as allegorical depictions. To me it is more the realization that both the rot and the fruit are a textural attraction in their delicacy; both take the same concentration and care to paint.

The classic chiaroscuro darkness in still-life is a primordial soup, a pool of black that springs forth a decadent, and sometimes horrible, growth. I’ve always been attracted to the obsolete idea of spontaneous generation, all that awful stuff popping into existence for no reason. The paintings reflect this; they are more spontaneous generations than firmly rooted in actual living organisms.


  • 2016 Massachusetts Cultural Council Painting Fellowship

  • Vermont Studio Center Full Fellowship

  • Somerville Art Council Artist of the Month

  • Somerville Art Council Grant Winner