Martina Nehrling


Where Magazine, Jan 2012,  pg. 20 - 22

Modern Art By Martina Nehrling  

Posted by Michelle Lesser at 9 January, 2012


Impressionism with a modern twist, this is a way of describing the work of Martina Nehrling, who makes her mark with bright bands of acrylic.
“My paintings are visual rhythms inspired by the cacophony of daily life, at once the weight and the flimsiness of it. Compelled by the pulsation of the beautiful and horrific relentlessly clashing I create compositions of accumulation. Grouped or tangled together, I use multiple distinct brushstrokes for their graphic directness, but highly saturated chroma in order to heighten the effect of color’s imprecise language. I am utterly seduced by the formal complexity of color while I revel in its emotive slipperiness and enjoy mining its controversial decorativeness. The inextricability of these aspects unique to color, continually spurs my engagement. Additionally, color is significant to a striking auditory experience during my painting process. To develop the tenor, tonality and rhythm of a piece I listen to the spatial relationships and interrelation of color, often combining both sonorous and percussive qualities. I use particular color relationships to interrupt or punctuate the tracking of patterns of value and intensity, creating moments of concord and discord, taking pleasure in syncopation and visual rhyming. With color that refuses to be ignored in patterns akin to lists, sentences or notes, my paintings operate as lyrical musing, lush celebration, high pitched lament or raucous rebellion”.

Martina Nehrling at Zg Gallery

by Robin Dluzen

Zg Gallery is hosting an exhibition of new acrylic paintings by Martina Nehrling. On display are works that continue the manner of uniform, multi-color mark-making that Nehrling has employed for quite some time: controlled, single-colored brushstrokes that are roughly four times as long as they are wide. When one's marks never change, and the palette is open to any and all vivid colors offered by the range of acrylics, how is it possible that the paintings can continue to broach new territory? Happily, Nehrling's new paintings are proof that it's absolutely possible.

The large scale paintings in the exhibition are like fields of multi-color, harnessing the mark-making for rhythmic, sweeping landscapes. Here, the marks are small parts of an illusionistic whole; truly in how mark-making generally operates, in the large paintings Nehrling's marks are a means contributing to a larger end. The paintings like Garden Drunk (four feet by twelve feet), are something to behold, and to awe, in a Pollock-ian manner. Or perhaps, more accurately, they are more like the sweeping all-overness of Pollock, executed with the color compiling of Pointillism, where up close, the hues are individual, but from a distance, they combine and interact in an optical experience.

But of the works in this exhibition, the small paintings bring viewers in close; though they use the very same marks as their larger counterparts, their scale makes them a separate experience, as if they are made with a wholly different painting language. Mainly, the difference is a compositional one: instead of the marks being parts of a whole as they are in the large scale, on these little canvases the forms are shapes, rather than mere marks. They are no longer what renders the whole subject, but are themselves individually so, where the drips and the tiniest inconsistencies are now to be part of the content, rather than solely happy accidents of process. For example, in Nehrling's 16" by 10," untitled work, the white ground prompts the little rectangles to converse with one another. Pastels stacked upon each other are peppered with saturated blues and browns; the horizontal pile of shapes that dominates the canvas is precariously "supported" by a handful of vertical ones along the bottom of the picture plane. This work even embodies a sense of time; an order of application can be deduced by the drips that overlap the marks made before them.

Both the large and small paintings are powerful, and I believe that their proximity to each other and their existence simultaneously in a practice strengthen them both through contrast; the large paintings are supremely optical, while the smaller paintings are more narrative, or even intellectual. And I think that this exploration in scale is what helps sustain this practice of such uniformity.

Published in Art Review, Art Talk Chicago, July 2010

The Art Institute of Chicago
Artists Connect Lecture Series:
Martina Nehrling Connects with Vuillard

Artists Connect Lecture Series:
Martina Nehrling makes complex, colorful paintings that seem to pulse with an interior rhythm. Describing her process, she said, "When I paint I am sounding out elements of my everyday life, and I am captivated by the richly textured cacophony of disparate events, information, things.... My paintings are not about just anything, rather they are about everything—at once the beauty, the horror, the weight of daily life." For this Artists Connect lecture, Nehrling discusses her own work and the inspiration she finds in the work of Édouard Vuillard, a Post-Impressionist chronicler of the everyday.

Saturday, November , 2008
Édouard Vuillard.
Vuillard's Room at the Château des Clayes
, c. 1933.
Gift of Mary and Leigh Block.

Chicago Tribune, June 13, 2008,  sec.7, C, pg. 22

"Through a Purple Patch: New Paintings" @ Zg Gallery

Standing in front of her gigantic, panoramic “Through a Purple Patch" artist Martina Nehrling ponders on how to describe her work and how it comes to be. She notes the experiential quality of the titular piece of her new exhibition opening tonight, spanning 21 feet across the south wall of the Zg Gallery, three canvases combined. Stretched so far as to fit on her studio wall with two inches to spare, the painting stood sentry as she created the other works of the exhibition, eight in all.
The triune "Purple Patch" is perhaps the capstone of her last year of work.” Purple Patch" is partly an homage to Monet and his "Water Lilies" a series that deeply resonated with Nehrling, one that she sought out at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. She felt an affinity with the Impressionist master in his later period, as his brushwork grew more self-evident. Nehrling's stroke is incredibly prominent in her wonderfully chaotic work. Her colors bounce around the on-canvas tumult, reds and green rising out of blues and oranges -- a diffuse, dynamic and interactive event.

"It's a reflection of my part of the world, the busy urban setting, the routine of over stimulus" she says. Nehrling, quick to add, "that's just my personal take, I can't speak for everyone" is a young, growing artist with an idiosyncratic style.

 Nehrling describes the first (chronological) piece of the show as having three layers of shape: first the discrete form, like a shadow of an ice cream cone; and then the under-paint, loose geometrics within the discrete; and finally her signature staccato stroke populating the painting, alternately cacophony and symphony. - Drake

University of Chicago Magazine, June 2006, pgs. 50 - 51, 54

Chicago Tribune, June 2, 2006, C sec.7, pg. 27

Chicago Reader, September 24, 2004, vol. 33, No. 52, Sec. 2, pg. 25


Where Chicago, September, 2004,  pg. 20

Art & Antiques, September, 2004, vol. 27, No. 8, pg. 26

Architectural Digest, August, 2004, vol. 61, No. 8, pgs. 50 & 71

Chicago Reader, Friday, February 6, 2004, Vol. 33, No. 19, Sec. 2, pg. 26

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