Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Nancy Rosen... A Studio Visit

Yesterday morning, I spent some time with Nancy Rosen, reviewing work for her upcoming solo exhibition at Gallery 180. We met at her Chicago studio. The space is an artist’s playground. Its walls are covered with drawings of figures at various stages of completion. The exposed surfaces revel the marks of past work. The space is so comfortable and I had been looking forward to our visit. At our last meeting—this past fall—I found Rosen to be genuine and delightful.

I first met Nancy Rosen a few years back when she entered—and was included into—one of the school’s annual Acquisition Exhibitions. I knew at that time that I wanted to stay aware of the work she was producing. Rosen is a prolific artist who typically paints the female form. Her figures are stylistically reminiscent of the Austrian painter Egon Schiele but her content is much tamer. While Schiele would present imagery focused on masturbation or sexual encounters, Rosen focuses on the intimacy, friendship and compassion between women.

At times her figures are singular with a slight hint of another presence. Most recently, the figures have become flanked by repeating patterns. These patterns interact with the figure and at times they even meld onto the surface of the forms. A color shift is used to stop the figure from fading into the wallpaper, a reference from Rosen's history with textiles. The seemingly symbolic imagery is intense and thought provoking.

Rosen writes on her web site: “I am a painter. For me this does not require much thinking, it is like breathing. What you see in these paintings is your own reflection...” I find her words insightful, for we can only see—in a painting—what has been created by our own experience. Take a moment and review Rosen’s work at nrosen.com. Realize that the site doesn't include Rosen's most current work, but it still presents a wonderful sampling of her imagery.

The work of Nancy Rosen will be on display at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago, July 27 –September 11 with an Opening Reception on Friday, July 31 from 5:30-7:30.


  1. I love the mood her art provokes...thanks for the link!


  2. I also love Nancy's work very much!