Why I Paint Figures — Bob

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Washington DC artist Leslie Nolan’s “Bob” 18″x14″ acrylic on canvas

I spent 33 years doing national security work for the federal government, travelling and working abroad in unstable, sometimes unsafe locations.  These experiences continue to directly impact my figurative paintings.

As described by Associate Curator Erica Harrison, Greater Reston Arts Center, the figures “seem to be on the fringe of existence, evoking distant thoughts of fleeting memories or dreams.”  It’s inevitable that my life experiences would evoke a general vulnerability of humans, as well as a celebration of resilience and the will to survive.  I find that regardless of culture, education, ethnicity, and social status, people all over the world have the same needs and desires.  They want safety and security. They desire a better life for themselves and their children.  My artwork reflects this universal concern of modern life.

Place a human figure in an image and immediately the picture takes on relevance.  It becomes personal.  It suggests a narrative. It’s open to questions – who, what, where, why, when.  For me, evoking these feelings and questions transforms the image into a deeper exploration of what it means to be human.

 

 

 

 

Rafe and Joao

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Rafe 30″ x 30″ acrylic on canvas by Washington DC-artist Leslie Nolan

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Joao 30″ x 30″ acrylic on canvas by Leslie Nolan, Washington DC

During our cold snap here in Washington, DC over the holidays between visits and dinners and Santa I was able to get in some studio time to do these handsome young men.

Each has style and attitude.  Going for a hip, cool urban vibe, I tried to imbue the subjects with relaxed confidence.  These would be perfect for any home or office setting that needs refreshening.  Happy 2018!

In the Studio

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Washington DC Artist Leslie Nolan in the Studio

Making new paintings and enjoying the fall light coming in the studio windows. This fabulous sunny weather gives off an aura of well-being, which translates to lively, exciting work.

Forget painstaking, impeccably rendered images. I’m talking free-flowing gestures. Intuitive sweeps of the brush. It feels like endless possibilities.

Preparing for Solo at Athenaeum

IMG_20170429_111308082These two new paintings will be featured in my upcoming August 2017 solo exhibition – Seduction – at the Old Town Alexandria, Virginia Athenaeum Gallery.

Both pieces, 36″x60″ acrylic on canvas, feature a man with great dignity and power, yet the images are infused with color and an other-worldly feeling.  Ambiguity, uncertainty, perhaps fleeting glimpses of reality infuse these abstracted visuals of modern life.

 

Making New Artwork

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Studio of Washington, DC Artist Leslie Nolan’

In anticipation of the upcoming solo exhibit August 10 through September 17 at the Athenaeum in Old Town Alexandria,VA, working on some new paintings. So far, they’re all about the drip. Is there such a thing as too much? Perhaps, in fact, probably. But, my plan is to push the limits. Many thanks to Gallery Director/curator Twig Murray and the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Association for the sponsorship.

Athenaeum
201 Prince Street
Alexandria, Virginia

Opening – August 13 Sunday 4-6 pm
Gallery Talk – September 10 2pm with special guest Dr Erich Keel (former head of Education at the Kreeger Museum)

Art In Situ

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Selecting the right artwork can be tricky.  It’s always a good idea to see it in a residential setting – a test for tone and style within a room.  I personally like art that makes me think and provides a lively counterpoint to otherwise static elements of furniture.  Some people prefer a more peaceful, languid feeling.  Everyone has a different goal for their personal space.

Regardless of preference, trying something out in the room for size and impact makes sense.  Whether stimulating or calming, a one of a kind, handmade work of art will elevate the area and make it special.  If it doesn’t work, you can always return it to the gallery for another piece that meshes just right with your preferences and objectives.

Here, I’ve displayed some newish pieces at home before delivery to the gallery.  Each makes a unique focal point, but I think they look good together, too.

Artexpo New York City

Washington, DC’s Gallery NK has been representing me at special art fairs outside of town. I was one of a handful of their artists to exhibit at Artexpo New York City on pier 94.  Held during April 14-17, the event drew designers, collectors, and art enthusiasts.

I very much like the way Gallery NK displayed a selection of my new Corrected Vision paintings — all 36″x36″ acrylic on canvas.  Because the gallery boasts a collection of very talented, skilled, and innovative artists from around the world, I consider myself fortunate to be showcasing my own work with them.

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Gallery NK at Artexpo New York City

In addition to myself, exhibiting artists included Steffen Faisst, Nihal Kececi (Gallery NK owner), Julia Hacker, Alfredo Palmero, Thomas Dodd.

My thanks to Nihal Kececi of Gallery NK for the support and expert assistance in exhibiting at these world class international fairs.

Just a reminder:

Susan Calloway Fine Arts represents me exclusively in the Washington, DC area. 

Located in the heart of Georgetown at 1643 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Washington, DC, the Gallery graciously welcomes my exhibiting in other local venues from time to time for special exhibits.  She also has arranged for some artwork to be used temporarily by local decorators. 

Bottom line, you can see a number of my pieces right now at Susan Calloway’s.   And, many of the paintings on my website LeslieNolan.com and on this blog are available through Susan Calloway Fine Arts (gallery@callowayart.com).