New York

Nina Beall

Graham Modern

In her first solo show in New York, Nina Beall, a young Texas artist now based in Chicago, reveals herself to be a painter in the tradition of the heavily impastoed, expressionistic landscapes of Van Gogh. Like Van Gogh, Beall is thoroughly attuned to the vital rhythms of nature. She brings out their emblematic significance through repetitions of color and shape, while the variations in the planar design of the compositions build pictorial energies to intensely engaging levels of feeling and sensation. So assured is Beall's technique that she succeeds in impressing her vision even on landscape themes most closely associated with Van Gogh, including wheat fields and crows, as in Gathering of Crows, 1986. Here Beall creates an aura of mysterious danger, not so much through the figures of the feeding crows as the swaying configurations of the bare trees, with their swollen and gnarled trunks spread across the field.

Beall's landscapes feature scenes of southern swamps as well as midwestern wheat fields. All of her paintings are derived in part from the memory of actual places that she visited, subjected to the reconstituting principle of imagination. The fantastic atmosphere in Waiting, 1987, is the result of the hot passages of yellow with which the sky is streaked and the deepness of the earth tones of the swampy ground where a group of egrets variously sit and stand amidst masses of twisted tree trunks and reeds. Her accomplished integration of real and imaginary elements is a mark of the maturity and power of her vision.

Ronny Cohen