Acquavella Galleries in Palm Beach will present its first solo exhibition of works by New York-based artist Nicole Wittenberg. Titled “Our Love is Here to Stay,” the exhibition features 22 new works on canvas and paper and will be on view from December 16 through January 10. The gallery will host an opening reception December 16.
During the pandemic, Wittenberg spent more than a year in mid-coast Maine, capturing what she saw and experienced in plein air pastel sketches. Rendering the world in brilliant colors and expressive marks, each scene is deeply personal and meditative, and the loose pastel compositions capture the sensations of the landscape. Back in her New York studio, Wittenberg reimagines the scenes on large canvases.
“I strive to capture the sensorial emotions of particular moments and experiences in nature–chasing the feeling of being there,” said Wittenberg. “Less about naturalism, what I find interesting is the translation of a lived experience and sensation into an image so I can return to that moment every time I make and see a painting.”
In her landscapes, Wittenberg builds from the tradition of American painters inspired by Maine’s natural beauty, including Winslow Homer, Edward Hopper, Andrew Wyeth, Marsden Hartley, Alex Katz, Lois Dodd, and, more recently, Katherine Bradford, Ann Craven, and Reggie Burrows Hodges.
In Sunset 21 (2022), Wittenberg depicts a sunset where a glowing orange sun, bathed in pink and purple light, sets beyond dark evergreen mountains and is shrouded by strange hues created by the haze and smoke from the devastating wildfires in California during the summer of 2021. Here, the artist’s impulse to experience and record the natural world can also be seen as an act to document and protect a dying planet, a cause the artist is passionate about.
Wittenberg and Acquavella Galleries will donate all proceeds from the sale of Sunset 21 to Art to Acres, an artist-founded nonprofit that engages art to support large-scale land conservation. The exhibition will be accompanied by a hardcover catalogue featuring an essay by Reilly Davidson.