CRC Artist's Statement

By Nell Painter

NP Divider 1

The eight art works made for the Web site of the Montclair State University Creative Research Center echo key notions in the CRC’s mission: to create, stimulate, reinvigorate, drive, mediate, cross over, explore, enlist, cultivate, collaborate, and link. Their process of creation as well as their palette build on the CRC’s foundation in artistic creation and digital tools. Their abstraction opens the way for viewers to collaborate in supplying meaning—to further the process of signification and carry it into scientific and symbolic realms.

NP Divider 2

The eight pieces on the website begin in two drawings made at Lake Clear in the Adirondacks in the summer of 2010, colored ink and acrylic on Yupo synthetic paper, 11 x 14." Then, to create the images on the Creative Research Center’s website, I manipulated details of the drawings digitally in Photoshop,to make new compositions. The images here in this statement continue my process of digital repetition and recombination.

NP Divider 3

It’s easy to recognize these pieces as abstract, though today we claim all sorts of art as abstraction, for the mere translation of light’s wavelengths into paint and print constitutes abstraction of a more or less extreme character. These abstract pieces invite all viewers, regardless of their physical characteristics, into their realm. For creativity does not limit itself to any particular human body type. You are all invited in.

NP Divider 1

Nell Painter Artist’s Statement for The Creative Research Center, 25 01 2014

My new works on The Creative Research Center’s website grow out of an ongoing series entitled Odalisque Atlas, which revolves around concepts of beauty, sex, and slavery in many territories and different historical eras. The pieces in Odalisque Atlas are both digital and manual, a defining characteristic of my art. The image on the CRC home page is a hand-colored etching whose background quotes Ingres’s Grand Odalisque and the landscape of Ukraine, the homeland of so many young women sold into slavery over millennia. The mouth pattern in the foreground comes from one of my many self-portraits, linking the art history in the image to our own times. The other digital images throughout the CRC website are based on the piece on the home page, with varying levels of simplification and abstraction.

My work here echoes key notions in the CRC’s mission: to create, stimulate, reinvigorate, drive, mediate, cross over, explore, enlist, cultivate, collaborate, and link. Its process of creation as well as its palette build on the CRC’s foundation in artistic creation and digital tools. Its abstraction opens the way for viewers to collaborate in supplying meaning—to further the process of signification and carry it into scientific and symbolic realms.

It’s easy to recognize abstraction in these pieces—though today we claim all sorts of art as abstraction for the mere translation of light’s wavelengths into paint, and print constitutes abstraction of a more or less extreme character. The abstract pieces invite all viewers, regardless of their physical characteristics, into their realm.

For creativity does not limit itself to any particular human body type. You are all invited in.

Nell Painter, a painter with feet in both visual and verbal terrain, lives and works in Newark, New Jersey. She received her MFA in painting from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2011 and has published books on the history of the United States, including three with strong visual components: The History of White People (W. W. Norton, 2010), Creating Black Americans: African-American History and Its Meanings from 1619 to the Present (Oxford University Press, 2006), and Sojourner Truth, A Life, A Symbol (W. W. Norton, 1996). She is also Edwards Professor of American History, Emerita, at Princeton University.

Follow these links to see and learn more about Nell Painter's work

www.cwow.org/users/nell-painter 

www.nellpainter.com