For Real! Artists’ Statements

March 6, 2019

From March 11, 2019 through May 30, 2019, the Lois & Richard England Gallery at Iona is proud to exibit Dennis Crayon’s intimate trompe l’oeil paintings and Nadia Linda Goldstein’s large panels of found objects.

At first glance, one wonders what Dennis Crayon’s intimate trompe l’oeil paintings have in common with Nadia Linda Goldstein’s gigantic panels of found objects. These creative artists have more in common than it seems.

Read more from the curator and artists below.

Joey Mánlapaz, Curator
Professor, Corcoran at The George Washington University

The precision and tenacity of the artists’ workmanship are evident from the moment you lay your eyes on each piece. When viewing the works closely, it is the surface field that is magic. Dennis’s trompe l’oeil intends to create the illusion of three-dimensional objects and Nadia’s panels are the actual three-dimensional objects. Both investigate deeply the nuance of color, shape, and form. One pretends to be real and the other presents objects that are real. Together, Dennis and Nadia explore visual and tactile textures through beautiful imagery and vivid colors. Both are For Real!

Dennis Crayon

Something remembered from the past; a recollection.

While my style can be described as contemporary realism, the idea is to infuse the work with something that carries the viewers to a deeper level. Memories (both strong and faded) play into the paintings. The idea of memory at times that can be clearly defined and more elusive at other times, allows me to add layers to my work. The goal is one of conversation evoked beyond a classically painted piece of art.

During an archaeological dig in Pompeii Italy in 1998, I saw and became moved by the incredible remnants of Pompeian frescoes. Inspired by what I saw in Pompeii, I am creating this series of paintings to explore and think about the past. I use fragments of old photographs to complete the lost story, making it whole again but with a decidedly modern composition. Many of the photographs I use are family photographs from my childhood, which gives the piece an added sense of nostalgia. The snapshots are often in perfect focus while the background is faded, drawing parallels to memory. “Some memories are really sharp and in focus and others have faded. This gives each piece a sense of time, and reflects on the impermanence of life.”

“But at the heart of trompe l’oeil is the thin divide between reality and illusion. In that way, Crayon conjures themes of dreams and memory and the ways they are sharp at first but fade, morph or deteriorate over time. ‘In either dreams or memories, some of it will be really sharp and really in focus and each detail will be there, and other areas will be a lot blurrier, and I’m trying to do that with the artwork.’”

– Cameron Wall, Northern Virginia Magazine

Nadia Linda Goldstein

I am honored to exhibit my art at Iona’s Lois & Richard England Gallery. In my youth, I envisioned I would study art and paint in the style of Mid-Century abstract artists. Instead, I pursued a career in law. I practiced law for 40 years—advising affordable housing developers—only returning to art toward the end of my legal career. Since I paint without formal training, some have referred to me as an outsider artist. Although I feel a close affinity with outsider artists, I suspect those who choose to categorize artists would more accurately identify me as self-taught.

The politics of our times offer endless content for art works about right and wrong. I often embrace a whimsical style. For my civic works, I turn to mixed media, often integrating found objects. It is cathartic to assemble assorted discarded objects, and strategically obscure them in layers of gel and colorful paint. When I sort through discarded objects and include them in my works, I feel in some small way that I confront change. For examples of my civic works, see Walled In (a part of my series entitled: Fusion of Texture, Color, and Politics – 2017 and 2018), Pull the Curtains, Trolls in the Garden (absorbing news of troll factories), Housedress (a garment now unfamiliar to younger generations and reflective of change), and C-1 and C-2 (where I use art as a tool to decipher law).

Gladly, the beauty of nature often draws my attention away from civic matters. The changing seasons—flowers, trees, and plant life—offer countless textures which I include in my work. See Water Lilies at Pollack Pond, Winter Garden: Roots Warm, Strange Weather, Confused Tree, and Flowers Grow at Construction Site. Often, I am inspired by the straightforward ways in which my grandchildren painlessly capture the beauty of nature. Undoubtedly, the art of these creative little people has influenced my work. See, for instance, If Fishy, Strings Attached, influenced by the art of one grandson.

In preparing mixed media pieces, I often include items such as shards of used compact discs, wallboard tape, discarded cardboard, plastic from containers, various metal items, and fabric scraps. After assembling materials, I apply layers of acrylic gel and paint, and sometimes follow with applications of acrylic ink.

Not surprisingly, my life experiences contribute to my divergent art styles. Often, my work is in the form of linear, Mid-Century style abstraction. This process is comfortably familiar; and (due to my age) does not feel unacceptably dated. When I work in this style, I merely pick up where I left off decades earlier. I invite you to visit my website for examples of this work. Periodically, I include found objects when pursuing abstract linear work. See For Leonard C: Songs of Brokenness, Adobes at Mesa Verde, and Meditation.

Abstract Art – Mixed Media/Found Objects

You're Invited!

Come help us celebrate these artists on Friday, March 15 from 5 to 7 PM for an energetic reception, with conversation and refreshments.

Learn more and RSVP.