Jennie Hirsh reviews Joan Nelson and Paul Swenbeck in Art in America.
Michael Kohn Gallery
8071 Beverly Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90048
July 15 - August 27, 2011
The Michael Kohn Gallery is pleased to present new paintings by New York-based artist, Joan Nelson. In 1989, Nelson was selected to be in the prestigious Whitney Biennial. Known for working within a Postmodern sensibility, Nelson combined minimalist form and art historical content culled from artists ranging from Titian to Turner.
Her choice to paint on a simple form—a square, wooden box—is a nod to such Modern Masters as Donald Judd. Transcending into the realm of sculptural objecthood, Nelson\'s paintings have a distinctly contemporary feel while cultivating their place within a long history of landscape painting.
Her newest work continues to combine Minimalist form and Post-historical subject matter while capturing a complexity that brings new life to her unique practice. Inspired by the beautifully lush and remote area in which she lives, Nelson keeps a visual database in her mind that she draws from for her paintings. This process of internalizing her surroundings allows her to represent more the presence of a tree or vine, for example, as opposed to its mere representation.
Playing with the idea of what nature is, and subsequently her role as an artist within it, Nelson brilliantly and subtly manipulates paint and allows it to realize its own nature and materiality.