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Encounters: Carlton Nell, Jr.
The Huntsville Museum of Art's award-winning Encounters series of regional contemporary art continues with a selection of intimately scaled works by respected Mobile, Alabama, painter Carlton Nell, Jr. Opening May 4, 2003, Encounters: Carlton Nell, Jr. will present 24 of the artist's recent paintings, which focus on landscape subjects and are usually only 6 x 10 inches in size. A new large-scale triptych that the artist created especially for this exhibition will serve as a centerpiece of the show. The exhibition will run through July 13, 2003.
"Carlton Nell creates unusual landscape paintings that are intimate in scale and personal in spirit. Unlike the grand, panoramic landscapes of the past, Nell's small paintings focus on details of nature and compel the viewer to slow down and contemplate the often overlooked elements that make up the whole," Chief Curator Peter Baldaia said. "Nell's painting technique is highly accomplished, giving his work an exquisite, jewel-like quality not often found in traditional landscapes." (right: Composition 112, 2002, oil on panel, 6 x 10 inches)
Nell's small paintings reflect a strong interest in the natural world, but with a twist. The simple backgrounds and elegantly detailed foregrounds offer an extreme contrast. Nell's masterful skills with impasto, thickly applied opaque paint that retains the marks of the brush, techniques add additional variation to the typical approach to landscape painting. Skies in Nell's paintings are often richly textured surfaces that contrast with the thinly painted foregrounds -- the reverse of the traditional painting technique of building up paint on subjects that appear closest to the viewer.(right: Composition 118, 2002, oil on panel, 6 x 10 inches)
A native of Mobile, Nell is an associate professor of art at Auburn University. He earned his B.F.A. degree from Auburn in 1984 and his M.F.A. degree from Georgia State University in 1992. Nell won the Alabama Artist Award from the Museum's Red Clay Survey exhibition in 1996, and was the recipient of an Individual Artist Fellowship from the Alabama State Council on the Arts in 1999. His work may be found in public and private collections throughout the Southeast, including the permanent collection of the Huntsville Museum of Art.
To teach the public more about the art on view, a Gallery Walk with Carlton Nell, Jr. and Opening Reception will be held Sunday, May 4, at 2 p.m. A guided tour with a Museum decent is scheduled for Thursday, May 15, at 7 p.m.
In order to provide further information about the exhibit, the Museum has provided the following wall panel text:
Since 1986, the Huntsville Museum of Art has presented an award-winning series of solo exhibitions highlighting outstanding art by contemporary Southern artists. These Encounters exhibitions provide regional artists a showcase for new and recent work, and afford our audience the opportunity to see how creative inspiration combines with materials and subject matter to convey a unique artistic expression.
Carlton Nell's engaging oil paintings and silverpoint drawings emphasize his fascination with the natural world around his home and studio located in the tiny South Alabama hamlet of Waverly. Unlike the grand, operatic landscapes of the past, Nell's small works emphasize the subtle nuances of nature, encouraging viewers to pause and contemplate the elegant particulars that make up the whole. The artist's works also project a measured, intellectual approach to nature that is reinforced by the restricted size of his panels and the sequential numbering system that he employs for their identification. Within this proscribed format, Nell offers a rich array of moods and details that interprets the myriad beauty of the Southern landscape from a fresh and personal perspective.
A native of Mobile, Nell is an associate professor of art
at Auburn University. He earned his BFA degree from Auburn in 1984 and his
MFA degree from Georgia State University in 1992. Nell won the Alabama Artist
Award from the Museum's Red Clay Survey exhibition in 1996, and was
the recipient of an Individual Artist Fellowship from the Alabama State
Council of the Arts in 1998. His work may be found in public and private
collections throughout the Southeast, including the permanent collection
of the Huntsville Museum of Art.
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