Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

Left photo: David Graham, Right photo: Nathan Benn

Philadelphia, PA

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Parks and Portraits: Dona Nelson, 1983-88


"Parks and Portraits: Dona Nelson, 1983-88" opens January 9, 1999 and runs through March 7 at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Broad and Cherry Streets, Philadelphia. This Morris Gallery exhibition of paintings by Dona Nelson represents the first select overview of the artist's work from the 1980s and her first solo showing in Philadelphia.

Nelson, who has been active in the New York art world for more than 15 years, is well respected by critics and artists for her versatility and independence. Since the 1970s, she has shunned a signature style, alternating between figuration and abstraction. Whatever the approach, her inventive work is rooted in abstract thinking and characterized by a solid directness and sensuous handling of paint.

"Parks and Portraits" features work inspired by the artist's daily life in New York. In the early 1980s, Nelson had turned to figuration after becoming increasingly frustrated with the limited capacity of abstraction to convey personal content and emotion.Her plain-spoken idiosyncratic approach to ordinary subjects, achieved through the use of multiple viewpoints and scale, reflected her desire to take an existing image and make it look entirely original --"re-presenting" the urban scene as she encountered it.

Born in Grand Island, Nebraska, Nelson received her B.F.A. from Ohio State University in 1968. After graduation, she moved to New York to enter the Whitney Museum of American Art's Independent Study Program. Nelson has exhibited widely across the country and received numerous awards including: a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship (1994); a New York Foundation Grant (1990); and National Endowment for the Arts Painting Grants (1979 and 1987). She is a member of the painting faculty of Tyler School of Art, Temple University.

From top to bottom: Clock of the Rain, 1986, oil on canvas, 90 x 50 inches, collection of Brooks Adams and Lisa Liebmann; Familiar Trees, 1985, oil on canvas, 72 x 75 inches, collection of the artist.

rev. 11/22/10

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