View into the Fertile Country
May 19 - July 13, 2018
13FOREST Gallery, Arlington MA
On Saturday, May 19, 13FOREST Gallery opened View Into the Fertile Country, an exhibition of new paintings and drawings by Nicole Duennebier. The show's work is a divergence for the artist, whose previous paintings presented fantastic biological forms emerging from Northern Renaissance darkness. No less complex, Duennebier’s new work defines a landscape where biology, dreams and teleporting caves are rendered in linear tones and a surprising palette.
In creating this series, Duennebier set out to challenge herself and move away from aesthetic aspects for which she had become widely known. Her light sensibility, for instance, is no longer highly contrasting and perspective here is created by the objects that can be vegetal, mineral or both. Duennebier's move into formal landscape painting began three years ago with an invitation to enter an exhibition depicting the Boston Harbor Islands. "It was one painting," she recalls, "and I decided to go for it, into a zone of discomfort to see what would happen."
Duennebier had always used drawing as the compositional basis of her paintings, but the seven included in View into the Fertile Country are among the first she is presenting as a series. To use black and white ink on tan paper was a formidable decision at the start, according to Duennebier, but it led her to value the immediacy and nakedness of mark making. Comparing drawing to painting, Duennebier points out that "there's no place to hide in drawing. When a line is there, it's there...no turning back."
Details are a hallmark of this exhibition. Distant waves, bits of projected light and the bend of shadows appear intentionally, as do the caves and hollows dotting Duennebier's landscape. On this, she states, "I want people to come across my work and somehow get caught in it. Details and resting spots allow that to happen." Through all this and the power of a potent imagination, View Into the Fertile Country presents a world ready to explore.
-Jim Kiely, co-owner, 13FOREST Gallery, Arlington MA