“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
|Nina Nielsen;VOLGA (2012-2013); 24 x 18 inches; oil and sand on canvas|
Since July 29th the Gleason Library in Carlisle, Massachusetts has been happily hanging an exhibit of Nina Nielsen's canvasses within the library space. The Gleason doesn't have a dedicated gallery space, instead hanging pieces throughout the various exhibition opportunities that the library affords. It is better this way, creating an integrated experience. Sometimes the paintings come out and greet the visitor in an open and surround viewing space, other times they hold a post, and still other times they surprise us among the stacks. Uncanny how these paintings do the impossible in this space; they bring the magic and mystery and spirit of their personal vision to bear. Amazing! They actually tune in to and fine tune the Gleason. They have that kind of strength of aura; they inhabit the library!
|Nina Nielsen; COUPLER (2010-2013); 24x18inches; oil and sand on canvas|
|Nina Nielsen; SANCTUM (2011-2012); 20x16inches; oil and sand on canvas|
|Nina Nielsen; VEIL (2010-2012); 30x24inches; oil and sand on canvas|
|Nina Nielsen; TEMPLAR (2011-2013); 24x18 inches; oil and sand on canvas|
|Nina Nielsen; BRANCH (2010); 24 x 18; oil and sand on canvas|
This is the paradox again. The artist works so hard to capture that thing that can't be captured, for themselves, for us. Nina Nielsen freezes that moment, stills something as elusive or impossible as a unicorn for us to marvel at, to see, to know, to be with. To believe in.
|Nina Nielsen; CALIPH (2011-2012); 28x22inches; oil and sand on canvas|
If there is one message to be had, it is that life is for the living. Places to go, places to be, places to be still.
|Nina Nielsen; TANG (2011-2013); 24 x 18 inches; oil and sand on canvas|
A painting like "Tang" falls to one side. It is curious indeed. It seems as curious about us as we are about it. A sphere like a moon rises or peers from behind a shape like a rock or an island on a ground like a sea of iridescent yellow green on black. Like so many of these paintings, it looks back at us. Curiouser and curiouser. Nielsen's curiosity becomes contagious. The lengths that her curiosity takes her to are our gain. We are honored by them. Of course such is the nature of art, just as we are honored by nature, by love, and by life. We just have to never forget it, and these paintings are something of a stark reminder.
|Nina Nielsen; JUTTA (2010); 24x20 inches; oil and sand on canvas|
And way over on the other side a painting like "Jutta" has more literal and recognizable elements. A figure holds a red niche, or the other way around. The niche is architecture. It is also a sign. It houses the figure, frames the figure, protects the figure, isolates and insulates the figure, and gives it proportion and place.
It is also the Greek letter Pi, the transcendental number, that never stands still. The image is strangely benign, but haunting, like so many of the paintings. Like some ancient culture staring back at us through time. Spirit guide. Life takes sand. Nina Nielsen's got it.
|Nina Nielsen; CALEDONIA (2011-2013); 30x24 inches; oil and sand on canvas|