Artist: Dona Nelson
Exhibition title: Painting the Magic Mountain
Venue: Michael Benevento, Los Angeles, US
Date: September 14 – November 3, 2019
Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and Michael Benevento, Los Angeles
Michael Benevento is pleased to present Dona Nelson’s Painting the Magic Mountain featuring 18 paintings, 17 which have been made in 2019.
Some free standing include material that does not lie on the canvas, the surface, it is tied to it, perpetuating processes like the weave, the matter it is woven through, is made of. The string that is apparent on both sides of the canvas is colored, and they are a variety of colors next to black and white applications of paint that are not entirely seen on both sides of the canvas and do not break the weave, but soak into it. The canvas is not stretched traditionally, the canvas meets the sides of the painting and it is nailed, not stapled. The nails look aesthetic, and there are many of them, so you may not be sure which one to grasp onto, there is horizontality in Nelson’s attention to all sides of the painting’s existence.
Nelson has stood in and with painting, and continues to find excitement in the material keeping a proximity to the medium denying to drop out, and rather mining it’s histories to be closer to the world tradition of painting. Her oscillating oeuvre entails a deep investigation of styles that embrace the past categories in painting’s history while also resisting them very notably in Nelson’s career by taking the painting off the wall, presenting two sides in a sharp critique of photography, or it could be viewed from this perspective. Nelson’s paintings take historical concepts and flip them, formalize them and perpetuate inspiration for the medium and genre as well as the viewer. Totality is intentionally out of control and messy edges are recurrently embraced.
Nelson has had solo exhibitions at the Tang Museum, Thomas Erben Gallery, Cheim and Read, Weatherspoon Museum of Fine Art, The Morris Gallery, Michael Klein Gallery, Scott Hanson Gallery, Hamilton Gallery, Oscarsson Hood Gallery, and Rosa Esman Gallery. She was included in the Whitney Biennial in 2014 and has shown in numerous group exhibitions around the world. Nelson has been awarded Anonymous Was a Woman Grant (2015), Artist Legacy Foundation Award (2013), Foundation for Contemporary Arts (2011), Tesuque Foundation Grant (2000) and John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship (1994).