Lynne Woods Turner on Nicole Fein

One may view a work of art on the screen, but a true experience demands the presence of the object itself. Nicole Fein’s watercolor drawings are particularly worthy of personal observation. Fortunately, this writer has some prior experience of the work in question.

Nicole Fein makes work that is quiet, thoughtful, and concerned with process. Her drawings are “of the hand” in both scale and touch. One has the impression of a relationship to fabric and textiles in the rhythms of both composition and construction. This drawing, Iteration 3084E1, with its plaid pattern and pinked edge, suggests on first glance that it could be a still life of a swatch of fabric. Closer inspection reveals something different: each line a stroke, each stroke particular, edges not “cut” but precise to the zigzag pattern and folded back toward the center. The overall composition and the relationship of the painted area to the blank paper maximize this idea of expansion and contraction: the plaid is on the diagonal, and the distance from the corner of the paper to the nearest corner of the painted area is approximately equal to the distance from one painted corner to its adjacent painted corner. The transparency of the watercolor and the white spaces between the strokes further this impression of delicacy and control. Fein’s drawing is subtle and deserving of contemplation.

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