Gallery NAGA Press Release

Nicole Chesney: Current
May 1 – 30 at Gallery NAGA

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.