Why I Paint Figures — Bob

IMG_20180111_164212413.jpg

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

Rafe_30x30_acryliconcanvas_web.jpg

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

Joao_30x30_acryliconcanvas_web.jpg

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

IMG_20170926_140213_377

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.

Seduction + Gallery Talk

Yesterday’s Gallery Talk

athgallerytalktwigkeelleslie

Artist Leslie Nolan with Gallery Director Twig Murray and Dr Erich Keel, retired Kreeger Museum art educator and historian

Lovely turnout with lively discussion at the Gallery Talk for my solo exhibit Seduction at Athenaeum Gallery.  Athenaeum is the jewel in the crown for the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Association. A beautiful, grand historic building that survived the Civil War as an army hospital, it is situated in the heart of Old Town Alexandria, VA, two blocks from the Potomac River from where you can see the Washington DC skyline.

How did this exhibit come about?  I had approached Gallery Director Twig Murray about exhibition opportunities, and she promptly dropped by the studio to see for herself.  Immediately falling in love with the massive pink and gray painting of a face (60″x96″ “Pulled By What Would Be”), she then and there offered me a solo for the following year.

Two months ago, Twig selected the rest of the artwork, including, to my delight, several recently completed paintings.  Artists always favor what they’ve just completed, because they’re moving forward, growing, changing.  It’s great when a gallerist encourages innovation, taking a risk, so to speak, on something different.

Stop by and catch the show, on exhibit through September 17.  Co-sponsored by Susan Calloway Fine Arts, Washington DC.

Washington Post Reviews “Seduction”

EPSON MFP image

facebook_1502624410145

Washington DC Artist Leslie Nolan’s Red Man

Join me for a Gallery Talk Sunday, Sept 10 at Athenaeum, 2 pm, along with Erich Keel, PhD, formerly head of education at the Kreeger Museum and erudite/fascinating art historian.  Seduction closes Sept 17.

Seduction at Athenaeum

IMG_20170705_165150562_HDR

Leslie Nolan at Athenaeum

The Athenaeum Gallery in Alexandria VA, along with Susan Calloway Fine Arts of Washington DC (which represents me in this area), present Seduction, a solo exhibit featuring my newest paintings.

ATHENAEUM

201 Prince Street, Alexandria VA 703.548.0035 NVFAA.org

Seduction –Aug 10 – Sept 17

Opening reception Sunday Aug 13, 4-6 pm

Gallery Talk Sunday, Sept 10, 2 pm

The gallery talk will feature both me and Dr. L. Erich Keel.  Dr. Keel served as Head of Education for the Kreeger Museum until his retirement in 2013.  Currently he lectures on twentieth-century German art, leads art-themed study tours to Europe, and serves as a volunteer curator for the Arts Club of Washington exhibition program.  Keel earned a Ph.D. in Critical Theory from Emory University.

Gallery hours are Thursday Friday and Sunday from 12-4 pm;  Saturday from 1-4 pm.

 

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.