Nan Tull

Encaustic Paintings and Works on Paper

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Artist's Statement
Artist's Bio
Selected Reviews
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Selected Reviews

"Nan Tull's paintings and drawings emerge from the modernism of the twentieth century, their physicality properly overt, emphatic, and expressive. And, Nan Tull quietly restores something akin to a picture to the plane of its traditional residence............In Tull's hands, spatial depth quietly restores the illusion of a picture, enabling complex ideas to be joined with sensuality. Tull's (drawings) are evocative explosions of form once sexual and soulful...These are passionate productions of aliveness---momentary, rigorous, and without rest...The elements of the drawing act are exposed as pictorial and spiritual markers."
David Raymond, Art New England, 2009

"Now her forms are less active and more contemplative. Tull's most recent encaustic series, "Suspension" (2007-08), glows with warm tones emanating through vertical bars of various widths. Formally minimal, with tones as lush and inviting as her charcoal is black and deep, these look like portals shot through with light from the other side, too warm and blinding to reveal what lies ahead."
Cate McQuaid, The Boston Globe, 2009

"In her solo show of 2009 paintings at the Soprafina Gallery, there is a new luminosity......Tull's paintings allow one to glimpse a shimmering light in the distance......Although more reductive in imagery......they do not seem emotionally distant; on the contrary, they radiate a quiet power and an intensity that causes one to linger in their aura."
Susan Schwalb, Artscope, 2009

"Tull's "Sensuous Wisdom" (exhibition) requires the willingness to patiently examine the surface she is peeling away. In time, a subtle, serious, even pioneering artist emerges."
Chris Bergeron, Metrowest Daily News, 2009. Annual Juried Art Show at the Danforth, Metrowest Daily News, 2011

"Nan Tull uses process and materials to delve into light's mysteries, ....and builds up her small and graphically specific surfaces with the accumulative light of encaustic layers.......Tull's paintings are grouped to create an almost narrative reading of the iconic dark images on their creamy and luminous grounds.....Using layer upon layer of molten beeswax, Tull orders each carefully wrought work with precision and premeditation, building up surface geometry....She choreographs light from the beginning, using those properties she can control to make a bold and dramatic presentation."
Meredith Fife Day, Art New England, 2005

"Nan Tull, who has encaustics up at Miller Block, is a ….planner, and her works---while maintaining the soft glow of her beeswax medium---have a geometric precision. With their clarity and bold forms, they harken back to work she did 15 years ago. Black angles crackle through the pale beeswax; whitish lines radiate around them. The entire body of work takes you through a journey of fracturing and mending, but it all feels electrically charged and iconic. When two angles move toward each other like arrows and kiss, they echo Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel rendering of the hands of God and Adam."
Cate McQuaid, The Boston Globe, 2005

"Nan Tull's refreshingly abstract "Night Vision 3" is bold, gritty, and white, with jagged diagonals colliding."
Cate McQuaid, The Boston Globe, 2012

"…Although order prevails…, there is subtle conflict in Tull's inventive selection and use of materials. Beeswax, an ancient medium, is combined with cheap modern tape affixed to plywood supports. The past intersects the present. Precision is marred by random natural forces. Yet the qualities of timelessness and tarnished perfection…greatly enhance its attraction and power. In its devotional scale, modest materials and restrained elegance, Tull's search for an inner plane that is a refuge from the distraction and vulgarity of daily life (is selected). On an elemental scale, the paintings speak of a human yearning for the ideal. Sublime images for a disraught world, they also reveal….in Tull's eloquent and sure hand….art's transcendent possibilities."(Exhibition catalog, Akin Gallery, Boston)
Peter J. Baldaia, Senior Curator, Huntsville Museum of Art, Alabama

"Stare long enough at the stripes in Nan Tull's paintings and mirages appear….Blink, and the mirages vanish, leaving only the purest abstractions: ….She has…reduced (her) concerns to the barest essentials. By shedding all extraneous matter, Tull has crafted a rich and evocative vision….On a physical level, Tull creates a tension between the image….and the ..beeswax. Because the wax is so difficult to penetrate, we're drawn to it….At that point the simple stripes assume an almost mystical presence. Their orderly arrangement speaks of the natural or even supernatural, and revelations seem imminent…..Using the most modest means, Tull succeeds in describing something that is at once transcendent and accessible to anyone willing to look."
Joanne Silver, The Boston Herald

"Tull, an artist highly aware of modernist issues, is playing with the relationships of figuration and abstraction, deep and shallow space, and figure to ground. But these are poetic images, and their evocative nature…is key; it suggests notions of journey and transition, as well as the pull between fate and free will."
Nancy Stapen, The Boston Globe

"Nan Tull has had a long-time love affair with wax….Her surfaces are unusually thick, the result of numerous layers of hot wax….The ethereal quality of her ..marks and images belies the extremely physical nature of carving and scraping into the hard wax surface….The ease with which Tull moves from representational to abstract imagery is one of her strengths, as she discovers natural correspondences between the two realms."
Lisa Greenberg, Independent Curator, Former Exhibitions Curator, Art Complex Museum, Duxbury, MA

"Drawing is Nan Tull's medium. She handles charcoal, pastel and graphite with bold authority, creating large-scale images that sometimes threaten to burst the bounds of the paper…the line bends, arcs, and angles its way over the paper with vigor, establishing itself in no uncertain terms."(Reviewing Tull's Drawing Retrospective at the Boston Public Library)
Christine Temin, The Boston Globe

"Nan Tull's achromatic "Night Vision 3", anchoring the center of the opposite wall, transcends the surrounding sea of color."
Elizabeth Michelman, Artscope, 2012

See the Artist's Bio for a complete listing of reviews.