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Carlton Nell: Compositions

April 19 - June 29, 2019

Compositions will showcase large-scale, abstracted landscapes by artist Carlton Nell. Nell is a professor at Auburn University and his paintings have been exhibited in museums and galleries nationwide and are included in various public and private collections. His illustrations have appeared in numerous publications, most recently on the cover of the historical novel series, Drums of War.

From the artist:

“In a recent issue of Modern Painters magazine, Merlin James wrote of the Welsh painter Thomas Jones as ‘… actively apprehending the world by depicting it; not just describing the world as one sees it, but seeing it as one describes it.’ My work is based on the idea of using simple aesthetic language (pure color, shape, texture, line, scale, etc.) as a framework for seeing—as a means to extract and embrace the poetry of our surroundings.

A mere copy of nature seems redundant, but intentionally zeroing-in on these abstract pictorial qualities gives me a wonderful tool to focus my observation—and thus gain a more concentrated perception of the subject. The pictorial language aids me in understanding my surroundings as it offers a path to observe and contemplate and reckon with the world. The attempt with the work is to bring into equilibrium the shared visual language of the material painting and the natural subject depicted in the paint. Hopefully, these paintings acknowledge the observed world while offering a unique and moving experience of it with others.”

This exhibition has been made possible by grants from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.