“I was trying to find a creative way to hold up our postcard-sized Rick Fox paintings to show scale without showing my disastrous quarantine fingernails. Here is one sitting in a Magnolia tree… nature’s easel!! They looked beautiful bouncing in the wind.” (see a video here) –Andrea
“When I told Nicole Chesney about a dream I had – a yellow painting glowing from inside a public space – I never thought she’d make it come to life and then surprise me with it. It took a year, but I finally used the extra time I had on Mother’s Day, to install it. It was worth the wait; it makes me smile at every point in my day.” – Meg
Here’s Andrea checking on the gallery wearing a cyanotype mask made by our artist, Jaclyn Kain. Newbury Street was a ghost town!
Our next online-only exhibition, Peter Vanderwarker’s “Vanderwarker’s Cities,” will launch on Friday, June 5, at 10 am at www.gallerynaga.com.
To mark the beginning of another month in this surreal time, Gallery NAGA will present the third solo exhibition of glowing, ephemeral paintings by Nicole Chesney.
Nicole Chesney’s abstract paintings are oil paint on acid-etched and mirrored glass. The title of the show, Current, is defined as, “belonging to the present time,” as well as “a body of water, air, or electricity moving in a definite direction.” Current continues Chesney’s endless wondering with notions of sky and water and investigations of perception.
Chesney is a student of color, always within reach in her studio is Werner’s Nomenclature of Colours, The National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Weather and The National Audubon Society Field Guide to the Night Sky. Darwin used Abraham Werner’s book to describe his discoveries and color observations on HMS Beagle voyage, which included the Galapagos Archipelago. Chesney is also on a journey, her discoveries about color in her paintings. Each of her works is like a new look at a familiar animal. A deliberate nod to the influence of Werner is made in the titles of Verditer and Verditer Green. Werner’s spelling is actually “verditter,” while Chesney has opted for the more contemporary spelling. These two paintings are also Chesney’s first explorations of green mirrors.
Werner was a mineralogist and geologist. Early in his career he published the first textbook on descriptive mineralogy. Having started as a jeweler’s apprentice, Chesney feels the allure of rare and precious gems. The recognition of this shared desire is especially apparent in Azure and Beryl. Azure comes to English from a poorly translated Arabic word meaning lapis lazuli. The word beryl is derived from the Latin beryllus, which referred to a “precious blue-green color-of-sea-water stone.” Each Chesney painting speaks of color, but also about substance: Mother of Pearl in the reflective whites, sea foam in the blues, and reflective metals in the dark tones. Chesney’s paintings create a meditative repose on color and space where the viewer may rest from the other hopes and desires clamoring for attention in our current tumultuous world.
Chesney’s work is exhibited and collected internationally including the permanent collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, New Britain Museum of American Art, The Newport Art Museum, RISD Museum, Palm Springs Art Museum, The Corning Museum of Glass and many more.
A Renaissance couple: There’s no better way to describe the husband and wife who hired designer Lisa Tharp to renovate their recently purchased, turn-of-the century urban apartment in the Northeast. In fact it was their passion for literature, science and art that guided Tharp’s concept. “This was an opportunity to showcase who they are–to reflect their intellect and quiet sophistication,” Tharp says. “In every room, there’s something to stimulate conversation and inspire curiosity.”
HEAD OF THE HARBOR, N.Y. — Harlan and Olivia Fischer discovered fine art in the early 1990s, an unexpected consequence of Mr. Fischer’s Jeep having been struck by a drunken driver and totaled.
Although his injuries were minor, Mr. Fischer, a financial planner, said the crash required him to undergo extensive rehab and got him thinking. “I realized that, had I been killed, I wouldn’t have left much of an imprint” outside of business, he said.
After the accident, the Fischers, of Head of the Harbor, N.Y., threw themselves into volunteer work for organizations including the Smithtown Township Arts Council. Mrs. Fischer retired early from her job in human resources at Northport Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and devoted more time to these pursuits. By the mid-90s they were regularly purchasing works by painters they met through the arts council, including Agnes de Bethune and John Dorish.
They still buy oils and acrylics in styles ranging from Abstract Expressionism to photorealism. But one day in 1995, on a visit to a friend in nearby Nissequogue who’d remodeled his garage around his growing glass collection, they found a new focus. “The minute the two of us saw his glass art, we thought it was great,” Mrs. Fischer said.
Several weeks later they visited the Heller Gallery in Manhattan and bought their first glass object, “Solar Gray” by Michael Taylor, which consists of clear and black shardlike shapes radiating outward; it’s currently displayed in their bedroom.
The Fischers bought four or five more pieces over the next several weeks and didn’t stop there. In 2005, having run out of space, they commissioned a 2,000-square-foot addition to their contemporary home.
The Fischers, who have no children, say they plan to give their collection to a museum someday, possibly a local one — “So we can see it when we want to,” Mr. Fischer said. In the meantime, Mrs. Fischer said, they continue to acquire pieces with a goal of upgrading their glass objects.
Mr. Fischer is a board member of various glass collectors’ groups, and the couple are founding members of the Ennion Society of benefactors at the Corning Museum of Glass.
They discussed their collection in a visit to their home on Long Island’s North Shore. Here are edited excerpts from the conversation.
This is quite a collection! How have you built it?
HARLAN FISCHER I find I either like a piece or I don’t. Generally I like pieces that are scaled large and display intense color. When Olivia and I started collecting glass, the feeling was similar to how I felt in high school when I discovered jazz. I heard a record of John Coltrane playing “My Favorite Things.” Epiphany!
OLIVIA FISCHER One of my favorites is “Aver 4,” by Nicole Chesney. To me it is bold and vibrant, at the same time ethereal with mysterious depth.
MR. FISCHER We try not to walk into galleries as strangers. We usually acquire works by established artists. We listen to suggestions, too.
It must be challenging to move some of these pieces, yet you do it.
MR. FISCHER When we built the addition, we needed to move “Spiral of Life” [by Ivana Houserova] to a place between our dining room and our new gallery. We contacted Jitka Pokorna, who owned the gallery in Prague where we bought the piece. Coincidentally, she and her staff were about to fly to the SOFA exhibition in Chicago and were stopping over in Newark. We had a car pick them up at Newark and bring them here. That afternoon the four of them disassembled the piece, moved it, and reassembled it. It weighs at least 450 pounds.
How much does such a housecall cost?
MR. FISCHER They didn’t charge me anything. We had gotten several pieces from Jitka. Actually we got more pieces from her than anybody. When they were here, I asked what they wanted to eat and they all said “pizza” in unison. I guess the only word they all knew in English was pizza.
Did you get them pizza?
MR. FISCHER Yeah, I had pies delivered from a local place. They all chowed down. They stayed overnight and flew out to Chicago the next day.