Images by Clare Britt


October 15- November 21, 2015

For her solo show Recto/Verso, Zoe Nelson transformed the Cleve Carney Art Gallery into a shifting landscape of pulsating and vibrant paintings that embrace a plurality of holes, simultaneity of sides and folds, and chromatic movement. Sometimes violently, other times sensually, and oftentimes playfully, Nelson slices into the canvas in order to open up her paintings. Formal frameworks of absence and negation are paired with exuberant colors and playfully immersive surfaces of paint. Nelson paints on all sides of the canvas and her paintings hang from the ceiling or perpendicular to the wall, dancing with the viewer as one moves throughout the gallery, and in so doing, inviting expansive, individual, and temporal possibilities of viewing. The effect is a reversible painting installation, where no single angle looks the same, and paintings each contain their own logic of dissonance or harmony between recto and verso sides.

In response to Nelson’s work, choreographer Lizzie Leopold has created a dance for the Leopold Group to perform through and around the paintings installed at the Cleve Carney Art Gallery. Pairing this installation with dance allows for a fundamentally sculptural expansion of painting beyond the frame.

Zoe Nelson was born in Rhinebeck, NY, and currently resides in Chicago. She received an MFA from Columbia University and a BA from Barnard College. Exhibitions in Chicago include Western Exhibitions (solo), Lloyd Dobler Gallery (solo), Roots & Culture Contemporary Art Center (two-person), Robert Bills Contemporary, and Columbia College Center for Book and Paper Arts, as well as the Elder Gallery (Lincoln, NE), Usable Space (Milwaukee), NurtureART (NYC), and The Fisher Landau Center for Art (NYC). Press includes The Huffington Post, Bad at Sports, Newcity, and New American Paintings Blog. Nelson’s work was selected for the 2013 and 2011 Midwest editions of New American Paintings. She has attended residencies through ACRE (WI), Ox-Bow (MI), The Lighthouse Works (Fishers Island, NY), Pont-Aven School of Contemporary Art (France) and Yale University’s Norfolk Summer Program (CT). This past spring, she presented her work as part of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Artists Now! public lecture series, and she currently teaches at Harold Washington College and DePaul University.

More of Zoe Nelson’s work can be viewed at

For more information on the exhibition please contact: Justin Witte at

press: Artforum

exhibition catalog

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