N. Mutt 2009, an exhibition of recent paintings by Nena Amsler is on view at the Kristi Engle Gallery from to May 2 to May 30.
This exhibition's title, N. Mutt 2009, is an appropriation from the title of Marcel Duchamp's iconic work, with which he challenged the definition of art. Likewise, Amsler seeks to challenge the definition of "painting." The artist - a "mutt" herself, being a product of two disparate cultures (Switzerland and Peru) - creates paintings crossbred between multiple genres. Utilizing the traditional painter's materials (stretchers, canvas, panels and paint - in this case acrylic), Amsler presents an uncommon array of possibilities that are consistently innovative. Her material explorations; her investigation into the possibilities of painting; the introduction of a loose narrative and references to other contemporary works of art make her practice neither strictly formal nor exclusively conceptual.
From writer, Annie Buckley's catalogue essay for this exhibition: "The bulk of N. Mutt 2009 is comprised of puzzle-like works that come together in shapes indicative of characters and settings, mood and plot. Like props for a play, these invite a story rather than tell one; the tale can be as specific or open-ended as the viewer allows."
The individual paintings are part of a bigger whole - a tree or a boy, but are also available as singular works on their own. This tactic allows for works that are neither fully figurative nor completely abstract, but instead has them toggling between the two categories.
Nena Amsler received her MFA from Claremont Graduate University in 1994. She has exhibited in Switzerland as well as the United States. She is also currently co-director of HAUS, an alternative art gallery located in Pasadena.
Kristi Engle Gallery devotes itself primarily to solo exhibitions of new works by contemporary artists. It is located in Highland Park, near the corner of Ave. 50 and York Blvd.