new-york

Joan Nelson

Fawbush Gallery

Joan Nelson makes small, intimate, untitled landscape paintings that are extraordinarily lovely. They have a smoldering, luminescent atmosphere that gives them an aged, old master look. In part this is technically created. Each one is painted on panel in layers, with the paint seeping into the pores of the wood, and most are coated with wax (in this exhibition, 10 out of the 12 works shown). Sensual surface is layered upon sensual surface, creating a glazed look of embalmed beauty. It is the surface of mystery that the old masters seemed to achieve effortlessly, a surface whose gracious sensuality dignified whatever was rendered, giving it an aura that forced us to take it seriously, even if it was apparently the most ordinary object.

These days, with earth's verdant mantle increasingly threatened, landscape seems to have gained in significance. To paint tantalizing bits of landscape—especially

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