New York

Nancy Brett, Funnies with Twill, 2019, newspaper, linen, 9 × 7".

Nancy Brett, Funnies with Twill, 2019, newspaper, linen, 9 × 7".

Nancy Brett

Parasol Projects

When I first saw Nancy Brett’s work, around 1990, she was making landscape paintings. I couldn’t quite tell how much direct observation might have gone into them, but they seemed rooted in reality despite their subtle otherworldly mood. Within a few years, her art had changed radically: She was making figure paintings, steeped in images of childhood, and blending memory and metaphor without any pretense of realism. Brett’s last solo show was in 2008. Her reemergence in “Over and Under :: Painting and Weaving,” organized by her fellow artist McArthur Binion along with Anna Stothart, chief curatorial director at New York’s Lehmann Maupin, evidenced another unexpected shift: a fairly recent return, as the subtitle suggested, to a technique Brett hasn’t employed since her student days. She also abandoned representation in favor of painterly abstraction.

I hasten to add that the term painterly

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