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Nell Warren


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.