Nancy Mitchnick: Calibrated
On view Friday, May 6 - Sunday, July 31, 2016
Born in Detroit in 1947, Nancy Mitchnick was raised in Detroit and began to paint in earnest at around age twenty, she quickly became enmeshed in the artistic milieu building around her—;though as a woman in a movement that was very centered on masculinity, and as a figurative painter in a moment where abstraction ruled the day, she was always something of a divergent figure. Yet the intensity of Detroit’s Cass Corridor scene—;a neighborhood that in the 1960s and 1970s was home to an exuberant group of young artists—was a perfect match for her extraordinary drive to paint. Painted from the world and from life, her works were energetic, assertive, direct.
Mitchnick left Detroit in 1973, to work as a teacher at Bard, CalArts, and Harvard taking her from coast to coast and back again over the following decades. Her subjects evolved. In Detroit she’d painted the visages of her artist friends. In New York she painted the trees and landscapes of the Adirondacks. In Los Angeles she painted the hazy desert. And when she moved to the East Coast to teach at Harvard, she painted the muddy landscapes of Ipswich.
Mitchnick was still living in Massachusetts when she began revisiting the landscapes of Detroit; today she has physically returned as well, and is working out of a studio in Hamtramck. Her paintings reflect the city, with its idiosyncratically doleful emptiness and bucolic appeal. The images are strong, bright, unabashed, and full-frontal. They are among the strongest works of Mitchnick’s career.