Jan Nel­son: Black Riv­er Running

Ranger Thomas
Delicious Line, 25 May 2018
Jan Nel­son’s ten paint­ings of life-size fig­ures hang sparse­ly in the gallery. Stripes of pri­ma­ry col­or under­line them, recall­ing a paint job at a kinder­garten but with the geom­e­try of a Noland. The images have flat back­grounds of lol­lipop rain­bows. The lit­tle girls depict­ed in each are gar­ish­ly over­dressed, too many head­phones and gad­gets, hats and wigs, shades and gog­gles. Their com­forters, toys, and cloth­ing should reas­sure but some­how only add to the dis­qui­et. Impec­ca­bly paint­ed and drawn, in front of them I feel a pres­ence, as with well-exe­cut­ed, life-size fig­ure paint­ings of the big tra­di­tion. Is there one mod­el? It’s hard to tell. I could­n’t help but be uncom­fort­able with them, not because they’re noisy chil­dren, but because of their silence. Are they wit­ness­es to our future? A bub­blegum apoc­a­lypse? It’s as if Ingres had a bad LSD trip and became obsessed with the shape of chil­dren to come. Beau­ti­ful and dis­turb­ing, Black Riv­er Run­ning” is a haunt­ing expe­ri­ence. Arti­cle link: here
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