Jennifer Nehrbass | Biography

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Jennifer Nehrbass is a painter living and working in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She was born in West Bend, Wisconsin in 1970. She received her B.S. in Art and Textile Design from the University of Wisconsin, a MA in Painting from New York University, and a MFA in painting from the University of New Mexico. She spent 10 years working as a Design Director at Ralph Lauren before pursuing her art career. Her work is represented by Brunnhofer Gallery in Linz, Austria, Julie Nester Gallery in Park City, and Visions West in Denver. Her work is in in many private collections in the United States as well as Europe. Her work was added into the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art: Feminist Art Base at the Brooklyn Museum.

Nerhbass’ paintings focus on style as a sublime element of tension within beauty. Thematically they evoke modern dilemmas of what it means to see and be seen in a manner that is simultaneously ancient and contemporary. Ambiguity, realism and fantasy play atmospherically in a narrative moment akin to magic realism.

Her paintings speak to forbidden thoughts and desires and suggest that somethings that is denied to the viewer. What the paintings yield is an intimacy of time and place that meanders through rich details and nuanced perplexity- bafflement being necessary to the experience of viewing as is delicate reasoning.

Artist Statement

Pioneer Project

The one hundredth meridian historically marked the beginning of the West. The point where the frontier began and society ended. This invisible line signified the start of the endless landscape one filled with unlimited possibilities, resources and opportunities. In this series “Pioneer Project”, the work examines the European exploration of the West through a female perspective and in doing so creates a fictional narrative. Objects found in historical institutions are reexamined and reinterpreted. Landscape paintings once used to romanticize and to politicize notions of manifest destiny, are now recreated. The landscape images are created through the use of various locations combined to become idealized vistas. They are moments in time captured for posterity. In the time of climate crises these idealized landscapes may present to future viewers a skewed version of past environments.

One aspect of western expansion was the desire to create a homestead. Artifacts of architecture and craft tells stories of handiwork and craftsmanship. In this project aspects of needlepoint sampler are revisited. “Home Sweet Home” is transformed using excerpts from Cormac McCarthy novels. The McCarthy quotes are feminized and edited to be suggestive phrasing rather than declarative.

Presented with many historical narratives are portraits of protagonists. Here are females portrayed as the explorers and the documentarians. They are of different races and ethnicities, a mix of different times and influences. The women are indicative of the cross pollination of appropriated cultures and spiritualism. They represent the bravery of all who venture in to the unknown to create a better life. We are all pioneers.