Naomi Nemtzow shows new paintings and collages in her 9th exhibit at Bowery Gallery. In this body of work, Nemtzow returns to the urban environment with paintings recording her observations of elevated train tracks, buildings and vehicles. The collages, which start where the paintings leave off, are composition studies exploring the underlying geometry and rhythms of the landscape. In a similar spirit of compositional exploration, Nemtzow also shows a group of works based on Breughel’s “The Harvesters.”
Nemtzow has often painted the urban environment with its transportation infrastructure, populated by vehicles. She begins with a perceptually accurate painted statement of her subject. Using this painted statement as a point of departure, Nemtzow then moves into a series of variations executed as painted-paper collages where she simplifies and distills the image. Structures from the landscape are represented by a geometric configuration of lean, angular shapes. The space, freed from the limitations of conventional perspective, results from the relationships of the forms, and the strong use of color. A fluid, active dialog on the picture plane is created. In capturing the exuberance and cacophony of the urban setting, Nemtzow allows us to experience some of the great beauty she finds in her gritty subject matter. She also gives us a rare opportunity to view her working methods in this progression of works.
Nemtzow also shows a series of images in which she has gone “back to school” to study Breughel's masterwork, "The Harvesters". In charcoal drawings and a group of brightly colored collages, she delves into the Breughel painting to look for its essential compositional elements. The results of this exploration are imaginative and playful while remaining rooted in Nemtzow’s reading of the Breughel. We are both entertained and enlightened by this painter’s intelligent and creative pursuit of the visual image.