Artist Talk: Friday, May 4 at 5:30pm
Opening Reception: Friday, May 4 from 6 – 8pm
Exhibition Runs: May 4 – 24, 2018
Natalie Voelker’s exhibition, Fortitude: Portraits of the Perseverant, is a collection of large-scale portrait paintings depicting the complexity of human experience through the lens of the intimate, personal, and specific. The subjects are possessors of fortitude – the courage to persevere when faced with pain or adversity. Painted on loose unstretched canvases, these life-size, full-body portraits imply ambiguous narratives; viewers are faced with reconsidering their first impressions. These works elevate the assumed mundane and invite viewers to look more deeply and compassionately at their fellow human beings.
Depicting local women – a friend’s mother, an intriguing woman seen on the evening news, acquaintances, and friends – Voelker’s paintings honor the fortitude of people around her. Without revealing the details of each subject’s story, these works allow the viewer to contemplate the meaning of fortitude and the circumstances under which it is ignored, acknowledged, or celebrated.
Natalie Voelker creates emotionally and psychologically engaging portraits of seemingly ordinary people. Having met and worked with people on 3 continents, she conceives of our human experience as both uniquely specific and shared via a visceral emotionality. Her work has been featured in multiple publications including the anthology, BARED, and the French-English magazine, VolUp. She has produced commissioned works for the Harwood Art Center, 508 Mural Festival, the City of Albuquerque, and various private collections. Her painting, Ethan Sleeping, was selected as the featured work for the state of New Mexico by Figure50.com, a national juried figurative art competition. In addition to her art practice, Natalie teaches workshops, ongoing classes, and individualized private art instruction. She has a BFA from the University of Wisconsin and currently works out of Albuquerque, NM.
Natalie’s Reflections on the Exhibition
“I use painting and drawing to investigate the human body as a physical form, a symbol, and the contact site of human experience. Often colorful and always expressive, my work embraces a lush aesthetic sensibility while at the same time unflinchingly acknowledging the dark and painful aspects of existence. I believe that to be beautiful, work must contain the full breadth of life – the dark as well as the light. Residing in the tension between representation and abstraction, my work reaches toward both physical reality and the subjective ephemeral. Through the physical process of creating, I find aspects of visceral truth. My works are the material result of an exploratory, process-oriented, approach to art-making. Presenting these to the viewer, I invite each viewer to participate in a shared recognition of our essential humanity.” – Natalie Voelker