Dan Nelson is a contemporary landscape painter who works between a rural property ‘Black Bulga’ at the foothills of the Barrington Tops National Park and her studio at NAS.
Seeking and finding a sense of place is at the heart of her practice, which she describes as experimental but strongly connected to the physicality of the Australian landscape.
“I interpret the idea of landscape broadly and my work ranges from moody scenes to playful abstractions. Sometimes I am drawn to detail and make inquisitive illustrations of insects and plants.”
Dan originally studied at the University of Newcastle as a fine arts printmaker, but in 1994 an experiment with monotypes (making a print from a wet painting on metal) sparked her interest in paint. This grounding in printmaking processes and aesthetics continues to inform her approach as a painter.
“I tend to work in sequences, painting on several surfaces at once. Together, the works form a sort of cinema of mood, weather, light and season. This practice probably stems as much from things I learnt from the repetitive, mutative nature of the printmaking process as it does from the traditions of landscape painting.”
Colour, light and luminosity have been strong preoccupations. Her tonal works reflect her love of Whistler and Australia’s Clarice Beckett and Philip Wolfhagen – all of whom she also admires for their subtlety as colourists.
These influences were evident in her solo exhibitions Formations (NAS Gallery, 2015) and Feeling the Moon
(Art Systems Wickham, 2016).
More recently, her experiences in the bush have led to an interest in abstraction, organic pattern and expressive
mark making. Australian abstractionists David Aspden, John Peart, Mazie Turner and Charlie Sheard are current influences, along with Helen Frankenthaler and Mark Rothko.
“Lately I’ve been looking at Rothko’s ‘multiform’ works.
These are loose, gestural abstractions with incredible colour harmonies. They represent a transitional period in his work in the late1940s, before he broke into the large colour field paintings of the 50s and 60s, for which he is so well known.”
She is currently working towards a solo exhibition at
Art Systems Wickham in June and July 2018.
Meeting Place 2017. Pastel on paper.
Territory of Sleep 2017. Pastel on paper.
Scribbly Gum 2017. Pastel on paper.
An Inside and an Outside 2017. Pastel on paper.
Painted Tree 2018. Pastel on paper.