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Art Fusion uncovers layers of Jill Nathanson’s process

Art Fusion uncovers layers of Jill Nathanson’s process

August 1, 2016 // by Stephanie Jackson

Put yourself in Jill Nathanson's place by learning to paint in a new way. Inspired by the artist's works in Confronting the Canvas: Women of Abstraction, guests create their own multilayered paintings at Art Fusion during Downtown Art Walk on Wednesday, August 3, at MOCA Jacksonville.

Jill Nathanson portrait a
Jill Nathanson pours polymer gels of hand-crafted oils and acrylics into elegant, fluid paintings on panel. Photo by Polite Photographic.

Nathanson creates striking fields of color in her paintings by overlapping translucent polymer gels. In order to study how the overlapping colors will affect one another, she rehearses in advance with transparent paper, constructing a beautiful tension between form and color. Then she pours her hand-crafted gels directly onto the canvas. Her finished works have a fluid, kaleidoscopic look that allow viewers to contemplate the color combinations and which color she poured first. Even MOCA's staff members find this challenging!

Art Fusion Jill Nathanson Gel Colors b
Gels are pre-mixed by MOCA educators combing two-parts gel medium, one-part paint powder, and three-parts water. Image courtesy of Stephanie Jackson.

Unlike paint, gel is a transparent medium. During Art Fusion, guests use gels in three primary colors, pre-mixed by MOCA educators combing two-parts gel medium, one-part paint powder, and three-parts water. At first, this creates a chunky, soupy liquid, but after more stirring, it transforms into a tacky substance that resembles a brightly colored hair gel.

Since Nathanson does not use paintbrushes, guests are invited to use other tools to apply the gels, such as sponges, paper towels, or event their fingers! (Don't worry, the gels wash off easily.) Brushes are not the best tools for the gels because they apply the colors unevenly, creating a work full of brushstrokes, unlike the smooth finish of Nathanson's works. As guests overlap thin layers of gel, they can explore how primary colors mix to form secondary colors.

This activity helps guests understand Nathanson's process and appreciate the luminous beauty of her paintings. Don't miss Art Fusion on August 3! 

Art Fusion Jill Nathanson Yellow c
A yellow rectangle is painted. Image courtesy of Stephanie Jackson.
Art Fusion Jill Nathanson Blue d
A blue circle is layered over the yellow rectangle. Image courtesy of Stephanie Jackson.
Art Fusion Jill Nathanson Red e
A red diamond is painted over the blue circle and yellow rectangle. Image courtesy of Stephanie Jackson.

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