Nicole Chesney Press Release

Nicole Chesney: Aubade
October 6 – November 4 at Gallery NAGA

Gallery NAGA is pleased to present our second major solo exhibition of paintings by Nicole Chesney.

Nicole Chesney: Aubade is on exhibition from October 6 to November 4. A reception for the artist and the public will be held at the gallery on Friday, October 6 from 6 to 8 pm.

Chesney is an abstract painter who uses flat sheets of glass as her surface. She began her non-traditional work with glass after having studied at the California College of Arts and Crafts, the Massachusetts College of Art and finally the Canberra School of Art at Australia National University. Never interested in sculpting glass, Chesney used the medium as a jumping off point for her paintings. After taking classes in jewelry and print-making, she explored the material of glass for its ability to manipulate light. “I didn’t study painting,” says Chesney. “Like jewelry, my love affair with glass has to do with [its] precious, desirous qualities that really boil down to light.”

Glass, with all its transformative qualities, is a surface onto which Chesney can add, subtract, and move oil paint around; colors are reflected in a way that canvas or paper doesn’t allow for. Seen from one angle, her painting surfaces are matte and brushy, seen from another angle, they are reflective and elusive.

Chesney loads the surface with paint, then wipes it away to reveal the layers beneath a process done multiple times to create sheer layers. The glass itself is etched so that it has a tooth, or uneven quality that can grab and hold whatever oil is applied. Chesney uses her layers of feathery, light brushstrokes to create smooth gradients from thick to translucent and from light to dark. Her brushstrokes, more confident and freer than ever, leave traces of circular or criss-crossing paths on the surface of the glass.

The colors (formed by oil paint) of Nicole Chesney’s paintings, — whether warm tones of purple, peach, and red, or cooler tones of blue, green, and white—sit on top of the glass surface. Because they are mirrored, however, the colors bounce back and appear as though they are coming from within the glass, giving each painting its own gentle vibration.

Chesney has entitled her show at NAGA Aubade, a French word meaning a poem or piece of music appropriate to the early morning—a dawn serenade. One could just as easily see the work as an evening sunset—splendid as the dusk.