Daniel Nevins is a 2012 recipient of the North Carolina Arts Council Fellowship Grant.
For more than 10 years Daniel Nevins' imaginary narrative paintings were a favorite amongst Asheville collectors, and it's no wonder given the cherubic characters he placed within dreamy landscapes of flowers, clouds and rivers. Then, nearly three years ago, in a shift that happened literally overnight, Nevins began painting large works of voluptuous shape, color and movement. For Nevins, the new work resonated with his urge to convey a direct emotional statement. "I needed to reflect a darkness," says Nevins. "If you knew me, you knew that those narrative paintings were not who I was." READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE HERE
Daniel Nevins has an instantly identifiable style. It’s the melding of meditation and color, ancient and modern, magical and mathematical that makes Nevins’ dreamy canvases so desirable. (He’s been represented by Blue Spiral for more than a dozen years, and his shows often sell out.)
Fans of Nevins’ work are in for a surprise: The artist’s latest endeavor is a departure from form. Yes, the earthy-ethereal palate is still present, as are Nevins’ geometrically precise flowers and tendrils. But what’s conspicuously absent are the figures. Instead of human forms and story lines, the paintings reveal organic forms, amorphous abstractions and tangled grips of color on the brink of either evolution or decay.
Step into the downstairs gallery at Blue Spiral this month and experience the unbearable lightness of being via 5 brand new oil paintings by Asheville artist Daniel Nevins. I hesitate to call the paintings abstract -- they feel more like representational work - visual descriptions of a multi-dimensional emotional landscape that vibrates with melancholia, sensuality, celebration, anger, hope, confusion, fear and relief all at once.
People familiar with Nevins' paintings may be surprised by the creative and conceptual shift taken in this new body of work. Noticeably absent are the people, faces, and sentimental gestures of earlier paintings. The new paintings are much bigger and display a subtler palette; the central black forms of each are most intriguing. Layers of painterly washes appear beneath meticulously rendered ribbons and tubes, all suspended weightlessly - a far cry from the artist's earlier tightly composed narrative paintings. Flowers appear venerable, seeming wiser and less eager-to-please than the bountiful and colorful bouquets of Nevins' previous works.
I was shocked, but then delighted, when I attended the Blue Spiral 1 opening of Daniel Nevins’ show recently. Many of us had been big fans of his earlier work; he had developed such a strong narrative style that we eagerly awaited each new chapter of the story.
However, upon seeing the newest pieces, they held my gaze and delivered just as much content. Different? Yes, and yet related. Nevins appears to have finished the previous series and is now embarking upon a new journey. I, for one, am happy to follow.
Nevins appears to arise from a time when there was no necessary division between the intellectual and the spiritual, when one, like poet John Donne, could reason with the soul and love with the mind.