Nathan Durfee, October 2011
Opening October 7, 5-8 pm
This latest series of paintings represent the next chapter in a continuing storyline that is both bittersweet and allegorical
Robert Lange Studios upcoming exhibit, Their Masquerade in Feathers & Thread, features the work of the contemporary narrative artist Nathan Durfee. This latest series of paintings represent the next chapter in a continuing storyline that is both bittersweet and allegorical. All are welcome to attend the October 7 event from 5–8PM presented as part of the French Quarter Gallery Associations’ Annual Art Walk where the artist will be on hand to answer questions. The work will hang until October 26 and can be seen daily from 11-5PM.
Durfee’s fanciful storylines have led to a cult following in Charleston, SC where the 28-year-old artist resides. He was voted best visual artist two years running by the City Paper (over 60,000 people vote each year) and was recently profiled in Charleston Magazine. His last solo exhibition held at RLS this past October was viewed by over a thousand people on opening night.
One collector’s comment as she walked through last year’s exhibit was, “I think Nathan’s so popular because there’s an honesty in his work that is sometimes witty, sometimes playful, and sometimes sad.” Carrie Cooney continued, “I find that as I experience the show I can see different facets of the artist’s nature resonating within each of his characters and I can’t help but feel like I’m part of a secret.”
Durfee’s emblematic works speak not only of the artist’s own existential journey but also a universal human experience. Often painted in series the characters experience everything from heart break to frustration as reactions to internal and external stimuli.
“I am a storyteller without a story,” says Durfee. “These paintings reveal little spans of time in a world I haven’t quite figured out yet. I’m comfortable with not knowing the big picture yet; instead, I try to focus on the lessons and feelings captured in these moments.”
Visitors to this most recent exhibition are provided with another layer of storyline as Durfee’s characters garnish suits and masks. The artist said, “I’m playing with the idea of masks both as subjects and the idea of metaphors. Masks have the ability to simultaneously hide and reveal facets of ourselves.”
No work better demonstrates the painter’s ability to capture and present difficult human emotions than “Carlton’s Love Lost in Translation” an 8-by-10 inch oil on panel work. The painting depicts a giraffe, hidden behind a homemade bird mask with buttons as eyes, professing his love to a tiny bird on a branch. The mismatch of textures, colors and unlikely characters, plays on the timeless story of star-crossed lovers.
Durfee’s painting style is a contemporary update of folk meets pop-surrealism and continually exceeds the expectations of collectors. This series in particular demonstrates Durfee’s ability to meticulously render small details and textures and in the same painting, the liberty to softly paint fluffy clouds.
“I’m now more informed with my style and can more freely incorporate different textures and painting techniques,” says Durfee, “choosing the level of detail that best lends itself to the focus of the storyline.”
One of the pieces for the show, “Consulting the Manual” is a painting of a woman carrying three yellow chicks on her back. She sits longingly at the window reading a how-to manual with a bird mask rubber banded around her head. The 16-by-20 inch oil on panel piece captures the emotion of motherhood, and with the addition of Durfee’s signature execution of colors, the discrepancy between mother and chicks becomes more evident.
Durfee is a graduate of Savannah College of Art and Design and has exhibited with different galleries across the United States and is feverishly collected in Germany as well as Japan.
Please visit www.robertlangestudios.com or call for more information 843.805.8052. Digital images of art works are available upon request.