My work is based on the delicate balance of serendipity and intention: being moved by the paint as I, in turn, learn to cull from mischance a provocative assembly of color forms. I am fascinated by the nature of printed paint and the graphic, delicate quality of the mark. Each new painting is an investigation into a discovery of form or process that occurred in a previous work. It is like a foreign language that I am learning without a textbook, the guidelines defined by the character of the marks, and my ability to create and utilize them. Into these scapes of pod-like forms I apply my own sense of order. I refine and edit, enhance and embellish; I create a habitat for them to breathe so they can be seen by the uninitiated eye. My personal aesthetic derives from a love of symbols, motifs, and illuminations, Tibetan Tanka painting and Japanese and Chinese artistry. I like preciousness and detail, antiquity and mystery. I am also inspired by the true abstractness of nature on a microcosmic scale. A perfect design on a rock, the grain of wood, rusted metal, a view taken out of context, the rightness of an aged concrete wall, or a flaking, pealing painted one. I live in the Columbia River gorge, and am awed daily by the raw beauty and dramatic play of light on the water. It has found its way into my imagery, and the result has been an interesting fusion between landscape and pods. In this arena they are taking on the guise of trees and rocks and bizarre plants. They have a sort of totemic energy that makes me think of monuments to stories that are long forgotten. The learning of this language seems infinite. Though I impose my will on it, I am drawn away on the flood tide of possibility with every mark.
1977, North Carolina
Raised in the Pacific NW
Bachelor of Fine Arts, Rhode Island School of Design
SACI, semester in Florence
Independent studies in Europe and Mexico
Manifest, PDX Contemporary Art, Portland, OR
Black Dove/Sky Forms, PDX Contemporary Art, Portland, OR
Remnant, Pendleton Art Center, Pendleton, OR
"Interior Margins," The Lumber Room, Portland, OR
"The New American Landscape," Kahnaway Art & Ecology, Washougal, WA
Solo Installation, Aqua Art Miami, Miami Beach, FL
"relative picnic," group show, PDX Contemporary Art, Portland, OR
"Storied," PDX Conemporary Art, Portland, OR
"Quandaries," PDX Contemporary Art, Portland, OR
“true bearing”, group show, PDX Contemporary Art, Portland, OR
Warren Family Art Salon, Portland, OR
Urban Folk Designs summer show, Portland, OR
“Portland through my Eyes” American Express show, Design Within Reach, Portland OR.
“Gardens to Go” spring benefit, Portland Garden Club, Portland OR
“Woods Gerry Senior Invitational”, Woods Gerry Gallery, Providence, RI
“Woods Gerry Senior Thesis Show”, Woods Gerry Gallery, Providence, RI
James and Susan Winkler
Travers Hill Polak
The Nines Luxury Hotel
Oregon Health Sciences University
Meyer Memorial Trust
Speer, Richard. "Spotlight: Portland." art ltd., Nov/Dec 2010 [photo credit].
Lorenz, Rachael. “Nell Warren Has A Dream.” Portland Contemporay Art Examiner, September 24, 2009.
Risse, Alanna. “Nell Warren at PDX Contemporary Art.” Alanna Risse Blog, September 7, 2009.
Peterson, Vernon. “Nell Warren: late night thoughts.” Art Scatter. May 19, 2008.
Motley, John. “Nell Warren: Quandaries.” The Portland Mercury, May 8, 2008.