Hearne Pardee reviews Dona Nelson: models stand close to the paintings at Thomas Erben Gallery, New York, on view through May 13, 2017.
Pardee begins: "Dona Nelson’s new works excite not just with their vigorous improvisation and inventive use of materials but with a new interactivity among the paintings themselves. After deconstructing conventional painting with her two-sided, free-standing canvases, Nelson has pursued an investigation of painting as a material surface, as a subject in its own right. Previously, she has compared her two-sided paintings to figures, because of their assertion of presence in the gallery. Now, by literally depicting figures in her new works, she re-emphasizes their participation in an interplay of posing and composing that integrates painting into everyday life."