Kathryn Markel Fine Arts is pleased to present Saudade, Martina Nehrling’s second solo show with the gallery.
Saudade is a Portuguese term that defies direct translation, but Martina Nehrling thinks the elusiveness of the word is best wrangled by Jasmine Garsd. She describes it as “a melancholy nostalgia for something that perhaps has not even happened. It often carries an assurance that this thing you feel nostalgic for will never happen again.” It’s an unexpected concept to associate with Nehrling’s unabashedly optimistic work characterized by highly saturated color, but in her latest work on view in Saudade she concentrates on the presence of absence.
Nehrling’s paintings are built with individual staccato brushstrokes of lush, bright colors in a palette that feels simultaneously logical and discordant. She creates a rhythm to her work with this palette that so closely suggests but does not complete a full spectrum, each stroke creating a vibrational tension with the one next to it. These gaps are central to the experience of her paintings, leading to a synesthetic conflation of musicality and visual perception.
To Nehrling, not even a single color is one-dimensional. She explores the formal complexity of color, and reflects its emotional depths and limitless potential with the tactile physicality of her paint. Mining the genuine impulses of her very first encounters with mark-making, reducing painting down to its essence feels like more authentic territory to her. She revels in her work’s controversial decorativeness, challenging the viewer’s preconceived notions and celebrating its unapologetic hysteria, its mirth, and its madness.
Martina Nehrling has shown with galleries around the United States, along with the South Bend Museum of Art, Evanston Art Center, and the Chicago Cultural Center. She has received the Community Arts Assistance Program Grant from the Chicago Cultural Affairs twice, and has been a visiting artist at several institutions. She received her MFA from the University of Chicago, and lives and works in Chicago.