Where are they now? Updates from Nicholas Coley, The Hermitage of Landscape (2016)

“Where are they now?” is a new series, following the recent work of artists who have been displayed in the Doug Adams Gallery over the years. This is the fifth post in the series. New posts are published every Friday morning!


The first exhibition displayed in CARe’s new gallery space on LeConte Avenue, Nick Coley’s The Hermitage of Landscape showcased luminous plein air paintings of familiar Bay Area landscapes. Nick’s work, which experiments with light and shape, was a great introduction to the new space, with is pristine white walls, large windows and bright, airy feel. CARe first learned of Nick Coley’s work through an article in the San Francisco Chronicle, in which Coley described standing in the middle of a forest to paint, and feeling the presence of God. Showing these paintings in the Doug Adams Gallery was an opportunity to explore the connections between nature and spirituality, a theme CARe is hoping to expand upon in an upcoming exhibition and partnership.

The artist in his element

Since his exhibition in the Doug Adams Gallery, Nick has held further exhibitions of his work at both The Wall Gallery in Oakland and the Desta Gallery in San Anselmo. While mainly focusing on landscapes of natural beauty, Nick has also started capturing the vitality of more man-made features. Nick is able to find allure even in the urban world. He sees possibility in mundane sights, such as the way light shimmers off the pavement or the grouping of shadows under a row of parked cars. The matter of composition has an important role to play in this shift towards urban environments. In his Market & Pearl Street series, Nick fills the majority of the canvas with the sparse, uncluttered asphalt of the street, forcing detail to the periphery. The edges become darker, resulting in a perceptual painting that gives the illusion of being blinded by the sun. Of his painted freeway scenes, Nick says, “it feels so good to find fresh material.”

Freeway On Ramp, 36x36
Freeway on Ramp, 2018 (36″x36″)

Nick likens himself to a groundhog or hedgehog, lamenting that his typical spots for rendering in paint have been heavily “burrowed”. Looking for new inspiration, then, Nick is excited at the opportunity to “explore and dig up … new ground” in Sonoma’s Alexander Valley. In August he will be taking part in the Wildlands Artist Residency, run by Keith and Shunya Anding, which offers artists a quiet place to focus on their work while surrounded by nature.

Wildlands, Sonoma

Thank you, Nick, for sharing your recent endeavors with us!

by Lydia Webster, Assistant Curator

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