Jean Nerenberg


Circus; 25.5 x 18 inches; Collage


Underwater Fantasy; 20 x 20 inches; Acrylic, collage


Other Desert Suns; 28 x 22 inches; Acrylic, collage


Crisp desert air. Gritty city streets. The stillness of a mountain trail. The cacophony of an urban intersection. A star-filled night. A steel-infused skyline. The desert, tranquil yet prickly. The city, alluring but abrasive. My paintings are a reflection of the disparate environments in which I live and create. Abstract images of the exotic cacti, thorny mesquite trees and vibrant landscapes of Tucson and the soaring architecture, musical heritage and graffiti-laden surfaces of Chicago appear on my canvas as I attempt to unravel the fascinating dichotomies and profound mysteries inherent in each locale.
Whether in my sun-drenched Tucson studio or my old Chicago warehouse studio, I begin each painting unaware of its destination. Working in water color, my first strokes are random. I freely embrace the accidents inherent in the medium and allow the subject to slowly, unexpectedly emerge. Stepping away from a piece and returning to it after a hiatus gives me a fresh perspective. Layering over dry paint opens new possibilities. Acrylics afford a similar flexibility. I over-paint and rework images, constantly surprised at how they evolve. I use color to create the experience of a tiny universe that expands, becomes vast, upon entering the chromatic field.
Recently, I’ve been experimenting with texturing tools and wedges on thickly applied fresh gesso to achieve a 3-D texture then mixing in colors or using pigments as glazes. Collage in combination with acrylics and monoprints is another new passion. I find inspiration in the incomparable works of Klee and Kandinsky as well as in nature — whether unearthed in the Catalina Mountain Foothills or spotted in an urban zoo.


Moon for the Misbegotten; 19 x 23 inches; Monoprint, collage


Farewell Morocco; 30 x 30 inches; Acrylic


Sunflare; 36 x 36 inches; Acrylic


A is for Abstract; 30 x 30 inches


Winter Blues; 14 x 18 inches; Acrylic