Nancy Friese is a long-time practitioner of painting en plein air. Friese presents an immersive experience heightened by harmonic color, dense space and meandering passages. Many of the most recent works stretch in a horizontal fashion bearing a widening view, a broader embrace of the lush land and sky. Working primarily in oil, as well as watercolor, watercolor monotypes, ink and charcoal, Friese shows us the landscape, sometimes with sweeping views or other times in close-up proximity to trees and brush. In these works, subtle motion and softening light behind intricate branches occur amongst glimpses of water in the distance.
Friese’s plein air style of working is found in the great company of artists such as Albrecht Durer, Claude Monet, Emily Carr, and Jane Freilacher, all known for imaging the feeling of nature as it laid before them. Not so much a depiction, but an essence of collapsed time, brings the viewer of her work the power and beauty of nature. Nancy describes the experience of making her paintings: I go to landscape in the open-air to move conventions of self-expression. How I translate the wider view of stillness, then swiftness, subtle noise and unrolling color to a flat surface is at times surprising, comforting and challenging. Nearby places can seem epic while faraway ones new and freshly responsive. Painting on-site has been called experiential and phenomenal but more simply it energizes a life in the natural world.
Nancy Friese graduated from the University of North Dakota, (BS 1970); received a diploma from the Art Academy of Cincinnati (1977) and her graduate degree from Yale University (MFA 1980). Friese also studied in the graduate program at the University of California, Berkeley (1978). Nancy Friese is a two-time recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, and has received a Japan-US Friendship Commission, a George Sugarman Foundation grant and a Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant. She has been awarded numerous artist residencies, most recently the Andy Warhol Preserve Visual Arts Residency (2017). Her work is held in public and private collections including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA; the Boston Public Library, MA; the Hammer Museum, CA; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA; the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC; The New York Public Library, NY; North Dakota Museum of Art, ND; the Portland Museum of Art, OR; the RISD Museum, RI; and the Yale University Art Gallery, CT. In 2011, Nancy Friese was elected as an Academician to the The National Academy in New York.