NANCY VAN DEREN--Artworks for Sale. BIDDINGTON'S ART GALLERY--More Abstract Paintings.
Nancy Van Deren CREATIVE
PROCESS visits Nancy Van
Deren in her Northside (Brooklyn) studio.
Editor's Note: This studio visit was conducted in 2002 before Nancy Van Deren moved her workspace to Columbia County. Images of her past and more recent paintings and prints are included in this photo-interview.
VAN DEREN: In my painting, I use landscape and nature as a point of departure.
VAN DEREN: The abstract painting on the far left, entitled Upstate Spring, and this landscape watercolor are the same subject.
Upstate Spring (far left)VAN DEREN: While I may begin a painting with a specific reference, the particulars tend to be lost as I let the painting follow whatever path it needs to take.
Van Deren with Landscape Watercolor (left)
VAN DEREN: I pinned this series of watercolors to my studio wall to remind myself not to control the process too tightly--to let the space change and to allow the painting to develop its own structure.
Sequence of Watercolors in Van Deren's Studio
VAN DEREN: My work suggests the sensation of landscape or nature. I admire Helen Frankenthaler whose abstract paintings are considered to have a loosely landscape quality.
VAN DEREN: My art has always been concerned with how one recognizes
space and shapes. During the period that I worked at the Noguchi Museum, I sometimes
gave tours to the blind. I would try to verbally duplicate the experience of
seeing an object. To do this, I described what draws the eye first.
Landscape-inspired Van Deren watercolor
VAN DEREN: The convention of landscape painting has a horizon
with a progression of space from front to back in the painting. This
structure allows the eye to recognize space and shapes easily.
Detail of New MoonVAN DEREN: I've looked at 19th
River School landscapes--for their
tonalities and massing of color.
VAN DEREN: From the late 90's until last fall (autumn 2001) I worked on a series of paintings with ovals--ovoid or birdlike shapes. I did a whole series of work exploring the idea extensively. Most of the series were painted on small panels; I felt
compelled to organize the space very tightly.
Small Panel Paintings
VAN DEREN: What attracted me to the gessoed panels was their
scale and their very sharp edges--they feel like they are framed
already. I liked the containment of the small
Falling Notes (right)
Gouache on Gessoed Panel
VAN DEREN: I worked on some panels for months and months.
Using gouache--a fairly unstable medium--I removed color
and excavated images--sometimes letting the pentimenti come
VAN DEREN: Eventually, I moved from the small panels to larger canvases. These canvases seem to be the end of this series.
Oil on Canvas--2001
VAN DEREN: I started in art as a sculptor, mostly because the
painting teacher wanted us to paint in thick impasto. (Van Deren
cringes.) As a painter, I'm mostly self-taught which is a bit unusual
considering I taught painting at Berkeley and later at RIS-D.
VAN DEREN: I like to look at photography. The tonal systems
of Ansel Adams, for instance, are very helpful in seeing how to make
landscape. I also like the painters who worked during the development
of abstraction people like Arthur Dove,
Georgia O'Keefe and Charles Burchfield--he's tremendous. Of the more recent painters, I like
Rothko, Agnes Martin and Rackstraw
Downes. And in contemporary painters, I
like to look at Andrea Bellage--she received a Guggenheim--and Amy
VAN DEREN: My current paintings are about color, massing and the sensation of nature. And, I am experimenting with making monoprints. Once a print impression is made, it can't be changed; I am curious to see where this takes my painting.
Nancy Van Deren
View Nancy Van Deren
paintings for sale at
Price Range: $350-$3000
Exhibitions of Van Deren's paintings (abbreviated list):
2005--Spencertown Academy (Spencertown, NY)
2000-2005--Hudson Artwalk (Hudson, NY)
2002--ACE Gallery Sharpe Show (NYC)
1998--OK Harris Gallery (NYC)
1997--AIR Gallery (NYC)
1997--Joe Rain Gallery (Dublin)
1996--Parrish Art Museum (Southampton, NY)
1996--Marie Walsh Sharpe Foundation (also grant recipient)
1979-1985--Sarah R. Rentschler Gallery (NYC)
1972 & 1974--Whitney Museum Annual (NYC)
Van Deren Teaching & Lectures (abbreviated list):
Spencertown Academy 2005
The Isamu Noguchi Museum 1993-2001
Sarah Lawrence College--1999 guest artist lecture
Rhode Island School of Design--1998
University of California, Berkeley--1974-1975
ABOUT THIS FEATURE
CREATIVE PROCESS at Biddington's is designed as a forum for watching art in the making. Usually, this process happens in the privacy of the artist's studio. At BIDDINGTON'S Contemporary Art Gallery & upmarket, online art & antiques auctions--we find it interesting to witness the steps leading to the end product and to hear the artists speak about their work in the relaxed surroundings of their own studios.
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