Nate Nettleton | Bright Before Me
June 9 - 30
We’ll end up sittin’ on a rainbow, reclaimed wood and acrylic wash, 48 x 60 in.
Wall Space Gallery is proud to present Nate Nettleton in his solo exhibition Bright Before Me. Nettleton’s latest body of works continues his exploration of the simplicity of representation. Bright Before Me presents both his paneled works and his ‘scribble’ series. Grasping materials and forms from everyday life, Nettleton creates minimalist sculptures that focus on the materials themselves, showcased through their parred down abstract design. He aptly uses collage in each new combination of material, colour, and form to open the door for inventive possibility. Nettleton brings forward references and emotional pathways through our basic association with signs and symbols.
Nettleton’s Yves Klein blue scribble sculptures are a direct homage to the 1960’s Nouveau Réaliste artist Yves Klein. Klein’s blue-monochrome works were an extension of his desire to capture the sky in the boundlessness of colour. Similarly to Klein, who sought to give form to the immaterial, Nettleton pulls from the abstraction of language and imbues it with physical form and tactility.
Nettleton’s wooden sculptures draw inspiration from our earliest forms of writing – scribbles. A scribble is an archive of (e)motion, it carries a particular energy in its loops and angles. In early childhood development scribbling is one of the earliest moments of not only expressing thoughts and feelings but recording them – giving abstract thought a form. When we look at a script of a language we are not versed in, we can appreciate its symbols similarly to a drawing. The weight of language is lifted from the line’s shoulders and new meaning can be interjected.
When we finally see the water, acrylic on baltic birch, 34 x 67 in.
“The scribble sculptures symbolically represent giving a noticeable existence to the routinely disregarded. Small, hand drawn scribbles, made into prominent sculptural works aim to prompt a dialogue surrounding equality and social progress.
The mixed media works are produced using an opposing directional overlapping pattern aiming to explore the concept of finding harmony and balance within opposition.” - Nate Nettleton
Nettleton is interested in the semiotics of the abstract – how the basic form of a line can become a vessel for meaning and (re)invention – what the artist refers to as ‘possibility and progress’. Lines were the advent of human creativity, traced back to the Lascaux cave drawings. Since then we have been scrambling and re-scrambling lines to express ourselves. The possibilities of the line feel infinite, and Nettleton grabs a hold of its simplicity to immerse us in a textural world of material and meaning.
In the morning after the night, I fall in love with the light, baltic birch and acrylic paint, 81 x 48 in.
Nettleton blurs the line between drawing, painting, and sculpture. Rather than a mark drawn on a surface, requiring the support of another material, Nettleton makes the line an independent entity. The plethora of surface treatments that Nettleton uses – charring, stains, foils, acrylic paint, holographic vinyl, mirrors – take on the free-flowing qualities of the scribble.
In his mixed media works, Nettleton overlays rectangular panels of various materials that create an undulating three-dimensional surface. Nettleton invites us to think of all materials and their characteristics of texture and colour as the stuff of ‘paint’. Composing balanced compositions with contrasts in material speaks to Nettleton’s desire for harmony. We can perhaps start to look at the world around us as a vast and ever-changing balance of ebbs and flows. - Tiffany April, Curator
Tiny shiny life, ed. 1/4, laser cut fluorescent blue acrylic, 11.5 x 12 in.
Nate Nettleton is a conceptual artist working in abstract sculpture and painting based in Gatineau, QC. He has exhibited artworks in Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, and Boston and has created public sculptural works shown at the Drake Devonshire Hotel in Prince Edward County, Manitoulin Island, Ottawa, Victoria B.C. and at Ontario Place in Toronto. He has permanent public artworks installed across Chaudière Island within the Windmill Dream Zibi development in Gatineau, QC. Nettleton’s works have been featured in numerous Canadian and American art publications, and he is part of public and private collections across Canada, the United States, and the UK.