Friday, June 10, 2011

Grasping For One Another: Artist Nathan Vernau

“Let me go grab even more stuff,” Nathan said to me. I was sitting at his coffee table trying not to let my mouth sag onto the pile of his work. Nathan Vernau moved to Chicago after finishing his MFA at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. He participated in a widely lauded group show at Robert Bills Contemporary, curated by gallery director Emma Stein, and will appear in the Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival later this summer. Last year, he appeared on the cover of New American Paintings. News about his upcoming shows and festival appearances can be found at his website.

But look. I’m burnt. I’ve tried to write this piece five times, and endured total accidental deletion of 1500 words that I thought were finally adequate to the task of describing what Nathan’s work “is.” I haven’t written anything but a piece on Ren and Stimpy in two weeks as a result. And once again, I find myself not saying what I want to say about the piles of pictures that lay in front of me on Nathan’s coffee table.  So I’ll just say it: Nathan’s work is vital, urgent, unnerving, and deeply felt.

And there’s a lot of it.