Nathan Durfee, December 2017

December 1, 5-8pm


Nathan Durfee

About the Exhibit

Our minds wander a lot.  Whether in a form of escapism, brainstorming, or merely getting lost in thought, our brains travel...

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Islands I Make Believe 

Pop Surreal Paintings from Nathan Durfee

On view: December 1 - 22

Opening Reception: December 1   5-8pm



Robert Lange Studios upcoming exhibit, Islands I Make Believe, features the work of oil painter Nathan Durfee.  Nathan says of the exhibit, "Our minds wander a lot.  Whether in a form of escapism, brainstorming, or merely getting lost in thought, our brains travel to another place.  That mental state has been a source of inspiration, and my newest body of work, ‘Islands I Make Believe’, is a tribute to that.  These 25 paintings are self-contained vignettes cut out from my wandering mind.  Although they touch on subject both societal and personal, it’s put through a surreal filter much like our brain does when we dream."


Nathan has been known to endlessly rework his initial sketches on the panel until he finds just the right composition. Once worked out he systematically begins to build the painting with his diverse visual vocabulary of color and texture.  All are welcome to attend the December 1 event from 5–8PM where the artist will be on hand to answer questions.


Durfee’s previous shows have been defined by narrative elements; telling stories to tie the paintings together.  This year he wanted to use composition and a single thematic element to drive the show, which is islands. The end effect showcases the growth and possibility of his artistic style.


“This show is the most cohesive body of work I’ve created.  Although I’m always experimenting and testing new painting applications, in the past I focused on a particular set of characters or narratives to anchor my art shows.  This time I’m using a consistent compositional element: the island.  This has allowed me to explore themes in a consistent setting while giving the show a nice unified feel.  I hope people look at my work and see that places they mind travels to when they’re lost in thought.  The islands they make up.  The islands they make believe,” said Nathan.


Many of the works in the show deal with the idea of solitary struggle. Nathan says, " The painting ‘Michael Missed His Mark’ is about the beauty in failing.  In the piece, Michael tries to hit a target with a remote controlled rocket.  Everything goes wrong and the rocket crashes into the water in a fiery ball of disappointment.  In its wake, the rocket left an intricate trail of smoke which becomes the focus of the piece.  Not only is there beauty in the knotted path, for the elephant it represents and opportunity to study what went wrong with his rocket.  Because Michael will grow personally from the experience, it’s a success regardless of the outcome.”  


Overall the exhibit is the perfect example of Nathan Durfee’s unyielding ability to consistently evolve as a painter. He says, "A lot of these attempts make me seem less like an artist and more like a research scientist; testing theories and analyzing their results.  This is intentional.  I feel that as an artist it is not only important to establish a voice but to challenge it constantly.  It is with this testing and experimentation that voices evolve and grow."


One collector’s comment in anticipation for the upcoming show is, “When Nathan shares his gift with the rest of us the world is truly a brighter place.” Mylo Charles from Charleston, SC said.  


Exhibit Images

Opening Night

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Robert Lange Studios