An American abstract artist, Jill Nathanson is best known for her soft color-field paintings. Rich with contradiction as they explore color energies, material versus immaterial, as well as tensions between form and color, these immersive and sensual canvases stand in a category of their own.
Nathanson’s practice is very much process-oriented, characterized by a systematic, multistep process. After going through a thorough practice of creating studies from torn transparent paper, she finalizes placements and hues by cutting and combining until she finds relationships that spark the visual responses she seeks. She then pours polymer gels of hand-crafted oils and acrylics into elegant, fluid paintings on panel. She must do endless tests to reach exactly the right hue, saturation, and degree of transparency for her paint applications, leaving no room for error.
Nathanson describes her aim as “color desire,” a quality of being, between open-endedness and finality. This allows each viewer to seek certain color qualities that are less evident, compelling them emotionally and intellectually. Featuring pale citrusy oranges and yellows, tender greens, transparent blues, and odd mauves, Nathanson’s works seem to evoke the natural world and synthetic.
Featured image: Jill Nathanson – Key Transpose, 2018 (detail). Acrylic and polymers with oil on panel. 49 1/2 × 74 in. 125.7 × 188 cm. This is a unique work. Photo courtesy Berry Campbell Gallery