Skip to content

Head-Image

Joan Nelson at Frieze London

Thumb-Show

Thumb-Show Thumbnails
JN_PL_2020010

Joan Nelson
Untitled, 2020
spray enamel, acrylic ink, marker on acrylic sheet
24h x 24w in
60.96h x 60.96w cm
JN_PL_2020010

Inquire
JN_PL_2019-20013

Joan Nelson
Untitled, 2019-20
spray enamel and acrylic ink on acrylic sheet
24h x 24w in
60.96h x 60.96w cm
JN_PL_2019-20013

Inquire
JN_PL_2020011

Joan Nelson
Untitled, 2020
spray enamel, acrylic ink, marker on acrylic sheet
24h x 24w in
60.96h x 60.96w cm
JN_PL_2020011

Inquire
JN_PL_2021032

Joan Nelson
Untitled, 2021
acrylic, spray paint, ink, paint pen on acrylic sheet
24h x 24w in
60.96h x 60.96w cm
JN_PL_2021032

Inquire
JN_PL_2021031

Joan Nelson
Untitled, 2021
acrylic, spray paint, shellac ink, nail polish, glitter on acrylic sheet
24h x 24w in
60.96h x 60.96w cm
JN_PL_2021031

Inquire
JN_PL_2021028

Joan Nelson
Untitled, 2021
acrylic, spray paint, ink on acrylic sheet
24h x 24w in
60.96h x 60.96w cm
JN_PL_2021028

Inquire
JN_PL_2021027

Joan Nelson
Untitled, 2021
acrylic, spray paint, shellac ink, nail polish, glitter on acrylic sheet
24h x 24w in
60.96h x 60.96w cm
JN_PL_2021027

Inquire
JN_PL_2021026

Joan Nelson
Untitled, 2021
acrylic, spray paint, ink, paint pen on acrylic sheet
24h x 24w in
60.96h x 60.96w cm
JN_PL_2021026

Inquire
JN_PL_2021025

Joan Nelson
Untitled, 2021
acrylic, spray paint, shellac ink, nail polish, glitter on acrylic sheet
24h x 24w in
60.96h x 60.96w cm
JN_PL_2021025

Inquire
JN_PL_2021024

Joan Nelson
Untitled, 2021
acrylic, spray paint, shellac ink, nail polish, glitter on acrylic sheet
24h x 24w in
60.96h x 60.96w cm
JN_PL_2021024

Inquire
JN_PL_2021023

Joan Nelson
Untitled, 2021
acrylic, spray paint, shellac ink on acrylic sheet
24h x 24w in
60.96h x 60.96w cm
JN_PL_2021023

Inquire
JN_WOP_72

Joan Nelson
Untitled, 2021
acrylic, pencil, pastel, spray paint on watercolor board
20h x 20w in
50.80h x 50.80w cm
JN_WOP_72

Inquire
JN_PL_2021021

Joan Nelson
Untitled, 2021
acrylic and spray paint on acrylic sheet
24h x 24w in
60.96h x 60.96w cm
JN_PL_2021021

Inquire
JN_WOP_69

Joan Nelson
Untitled, 2021
acrylic, pencil, pastel, spray paint on watercolor board
20h x 20w in
50.80h x 50.80w cm
JN_WOP_69

Inquire
JN_740

Joan Nelson
Untitled, 2011
acrylic, oil, gouache, ink, spray paint, dry pigment on wood panel
19 3/4h x 19 5/8w in
50.16h x 49.85w cm
JN_740

Inquire
JN 737

Joan Nelson
Untitled, 2011
acrylic, oil, gouache, ink, spray paint, dry pigment on wood panel
19 3/4h x 19 5/8w in
50.16h x 49.85w cm
JN 737

Inquire
JN 736

Joan Nelson
Untitled, 2011
acrylic, oil, gouache, ink, spray paint, dry pigment on wood panel
19 3/4h x 19 5/8w in
50.16h x 49.85w cm
JN 736

Inquire
JN 744

Joan Nelson
Untitled, 2011
acrylic, oil, gouache, ink, spray paint, dry pigment on wood panel
19 5/8h x 19 3/4w in
49.85h x 50.16w cm
JN 744

Inquire
JN 722

Joan Nelson
Untitled, 2010
acrylic, oil, gouache, ink, spray paint, dry pigment on wood panel
19 1/2h x 19 1/2w in
49.53h x 49.53w cm
JN 722

Inquire
JN 731

Joan Nelson
Untitled, 2010
acrylic, oil, gouache, ink, spray paint, dry pigment on wood panel
19 3/4h x 19 5/8w in
50.16h x 49.85w cm
JN 731

Inquire
JN 734

Joan Nelson
Untitled, 2010
acrylic, oil, gouache, ink, spray paint, dry pigment on wood panel
19 3/4h x 19 5/8w in
50.16h x 49.85w cm
JN 734

Inquire
JN 735

Joan Nelson
Untitled, 2011
acrylic, oil, gouache, ink, spray paint, dry pigment on wood panel
19 3/4h x 19 5/8w in
50.16h x 49.85w cm
JN 735

Inquire
JN 749

Joan Nelson
Untitled, 2011
acrylic, oil, gouache, ink, spray paint, dry pigment on wood panel
16 1/8h x 16w in
40.96h x 40.64w cm
JN 749

Inquire
JN 751

Joan Nelson
Untitled, 2011
acrylic, oil, gouache, ink, spray paint, dry pigment on wood panel
16 1/8h x 16w in
40.96h x 40.64w cm
JN 751

Inquire
JN 738

Joan Nelson
Untitled, 2011
acrylic, oil, gouache, ink, spray paint, dry pigment on wood panel
19 3/4h x 19 5/8w in
50.16h x 49.85w cm
JN 738

Inquire
JN_PL_2020020

Joan Nelson
Untitled, 2020
spray enamel and acrylic ink on acrylic sheet
24h x 24w in
60.96h x 60.96w cm
JN_PL_2020020

Inquire
JN 807

Joan Nelson
Untitled, 2020
spray paint inks acrylic paint on acrylic sheet
24h x 24w in
60.96h x 60.96w cm
JN 807

Inquire
JN_WOP_74

Joan Nelson
Untitlted, 2021
acrylic, pencil, pastel, spray paint on watercolor board
20h x 20w in
50.80h x 50.80w cm
JN_WOP_74

Inquire
JN_PL_2019-20006

Joan Nelson
Untitled, 2019–20
spray enamel and acrylic ink on acrylic sheet
20h x 20w in
​50.80h x 50.80w cm
JN_PL_2019-20006

Inquire
JN_PL_2021030

Joan Nelson
Untitled, 2021
acrylic, spray paint, shellac ink, on acrylic sheet
24h x 24w in
60.96h x 60.96w cm
JN_PL_2021030

Inquire
JN_PL_2020002

Joan Nelson
Untitled, 2020
spray enamel, oil and acrylic ink on acrylic sheet
24h x 24w in
60.96h x 60.96w cm
JN_PL_2020002

Inquire
JN_WOP_71

Joan Nelson
Untitled, 2021
acrylic, pencil, pastel, on watercolor board
20h x 20w in
50.80h x 50.80w cm
JN_WOP_71

Inquire
JN_PL_2020010

Joan Nelson
Untitled, 2020
spray enamel, acrylic ink, marker on acrylic sheet
24h x 24w in
60.96h x 60.96w cm
JN_PL_2020010

JN_PL_2019-20013

Joan Nelson
Untitled, 2019-20
spray enamel and acrylic ink on acrylic sheet
24h x 24w in
60.96h x 60.96w cm
JN_PL_2019-20013

JN_PL_2020011

Joan Nelson
Untitled, 2020
spray enamel, acrylic ink, marker on acrylic sheet
24h x 24w in
60.96h x 60.96w cm
JN_PL_2020011

JN_PL_2021032

Joan Nelson
Untitled, 2021
acrylic, spray paint, ink, paint pen on acrylic sheet
24h x 24w in
60.96h x 60.96w cm
JN_PL_2021032

JN_PL_2021031

Joan Nelson
Untitled, 2021
acrylic, spray paint, shellac ink, nail polish, glitter on acrylic sheet
24h x 24w in
60.96h x 60.96w cm
JN_PL_2021031

JN_PL_2021028

Joan Nelson
Untitled, 2021
acrylic, spray paint, ink on acrylic sheet
24h x 24w in
60.96h x 60.96w cm
JN_PL_2021028

JN_PL_2021027

Joan Nelson
Untitled, 2021
acrylic, spray paint, shellac ink, nail polish, glitter on acrylic sheet
24h x 24w in
60.96h x 60.96w cm
JN_PL_2021027

JN_PL_2021026

Joan Nelson
Untitled, 2021
acrylic, spray paint, ink, paint pen on acrylic sheet
24h x 24w in
60.96h x 60.96w cm
JN_PL_2021026

JN_PL_2021025

Joan Nelson
Untitled, 2021
acrylic, spray paint, shellac ink, nail polish, glitter on acrylic sheet
24h x 24w in
60.96h x 60.96w cm
JN_PL_2021025

JN_PL_2021024

Joan Nelson
Untitled, 2021
acrylic, spray paint, shellac ink, nail polish, glitter on acrylic sheet
24h x 24w in
60.96h x 60.96w cm
JN_PL_2021024

JN_PL_2021023

Joan Nelson
Untitled, 2021
acrylic, spray paint, shellac ink on acrylic sheet
24h x 24w in
60.96h x 60.96w cm
JN_PL_2021023

JN_WOP_72

Joan Nelson
Untitled, 2021
acrylic, pencil, pastel, spray paint on watercolor board
20h x 20w in
50.80h x 50.80w cm
JN_WOP_72

JN_PL_2021021

Joan Nelson
Untitled, 2021
acrylic and spray paint on acrylic sheet
24h x 24w in
60.96h x 60.96w cm
JN_PL_2021021

JN_WOP_69

Joan Nelson
Untitled, 2021
acrylic, pencil, pastel, spray paint on watercolor board
20h x 20w in
50.80h x 50.80w cm
JN_WOP_69

JN_740

Joan Nelson
Untitled, 2011
acrylic, oil, gouache, ink, spray paint, dry pigment on wood panel
19 3/4h x 19 5/8w in
50.16h x 49.85w cm
JN_740

JN 737

Joan Nelson
Untitled, 2011
acrylic, oil, gouache, ink, spray paint, dry pigment on wood panel
19 3/4h x 19 5/8w in
50.16h x 49.85w cm
JN 737

JN 736

Joan Nelson
Untitled, 2011
acrylic, oil, gouache, ink, spray paint, dry pigment on wood panel
19 3/4h x 19 5/8w in
50.16h x 49.85w cm
JN 736

JN 744

Joan Nelson
Untitled, 2011
acrylic, oil, gouache, ink, spray paint, dry pigment on wood panel
19 5/8h x 19 3/4w in
49.85h x 50.16w cm
JN 744

JN 722

Joan Nelson
Untitled, 2010
acrylic, oil, gouache, ink, spray paint, dry pigment on wood panel
19 1/2h x 19 1/2w in
49.53h x 49.53w cm
JN 722

JN 731

Joan Nelson
Untitled, 2010
acrylic, oil, gouache, ink, spray paint, dry pigment on wood panel
19 3/4h x 19 5/8w in
50.16h x 49.85w cm
JN 731

JN 734

Joan Nelson
Untitled, 2010
acrylic, oil, gouache, ink, spray paint, dry pigment on wood panel
19 3/4h x 19 5/8w in
50.16h x 49.85w cm
JN 734

JN 735

Joan Nelson
Untitled, 2011
acrylic, oil, gouache, ink, spray paint, dry pigment on wood panel
19 3/4h x 19 5/8w in
50.16h x 49.85w cm
JN 735

JN 749

Joan Nelson
Untitled, 2011
acrylic, oil, gouache, ink, spray paint, dry pigment on wood panel
16 1/8h x 16w in
40.96h x 40.64w cm
JN 749

JN 751

Joan Nelson
Untitled, 2011
acrylic, oil, gouache, ink, spray paint, dry pigment on wood panel
16 1/8h x 16w in
40.96h x 40.64w cm
JN 751

JN 738

Joan Nelson
Untitled, 2011
acrylic, oil, gouache, ink, spray paint, dry pigment on wood panel
19 3/4h x 19 5/8w in
50.16h x 49.85w cm
JN 738

JN_PL_2020020

Joan Nelson
Untitled, 2020
spray enamel and acrylic ink on acrylic sheet
24h x 24w in
60.96h x 60.96w cm
JN_PL_2020020

JN 807

Joan Nelson
Untitled, 2020
spray paint inks acrylic paint on acrylic sheet
24h x 24w in
60.96h x 60.96w cm
JN 807

JN_WOP_74

Joan Nelson
Untitlted, 2021
acrylic, pencil, pastel, spray paint on watercolor board
20h x 20w in
50.80h x 50.80w cm
JN_WOP_74

JN_PL_2019-20006

Joan Nelson
Untitled, 2019–20
spray enamel and acrylic ink on acrylic sheet
20h x 20w in
​50.80h x 50.80w cm
JN_PL_2019-20006

JN_PL_2021030

Joan Nelson
Untitled, 2021
acrylic, spray paint, shellac ink, on acrylic sheet
24h x 24w in
60.96h x 60.96w cm
JN_PL_2021030

JN_PL_2020002

Joan Nelson
Untitled, 2020
spray enamel, oil and acrylic ink on acrylic sheet
24h x 24w in
60.96h x 60.96w cm
JN_PL_2020002

JN_WOP_71

Joan Nelson
Untitled, 2021
acrylic, pencil, pastel, on watercolor board
20h x 20w in
50.80h x 50.80w cm
JN_WOP_71


For Frieze London 2021, Adams and Ollman is excited to exhibit paintings by American artist Joan Nelson, the artist's first major presentation to a European audience. For nearly four decades, Nelson has been reverently and subversively painting the landscape. Since the start of her career in New York in the 1980s, Nelson’s singular subject has been the awe and the artifice of the tradition within which she is working. New works examine the experience and depiction of the landscape as it touches on key themes of feminism, spiritualism, science fiction and the environment.

Well-known for her paintings that incorporate multiple pictorial traditions and borrow from the long lineage of artists depicting the natural world (from Bierstadt to Hicks, Friedrich to Bruegel), Nelson creates hybrid landscapes of places both real and imagined. Using fragmentary details–clouds, trees mountains–borrowed from iconic depictions of the landscape, Nelson creates her own vantage point by mixing these elements with personal references–photos, travel books, old postcards, imagination, memory–calling into question the genre’s presumed authority as she paints and repaints it as fiction. Nelson’s invented images push back against a male-dominated tradition of landscape painting and question deeply-rooted narratives of expansion, conquest and resource extraction.

Nelson’s paintings are enigmatic and ebullient; rainbows arc over gravity defying waterfalls, a trippy phosphorescence emanates from the valleys of mountains in the distance, and a gradient of cascading electric color fills the sky. Offering us a glimpse into unknown or unknowable places, Nelson’s utopias exist in some other world whose logic defies our own. Scenes of volcanoes erupting in a thunderstorm, beams of sunlight pulling at the tides, a twilight sky of pink clouds over a tumult of hills refracting the waning sun into glittering bits–Nelson’s landscapes are wild places that perhaps depict the escapist imaginings of the earth itself, fantastical and idealized. These unexepected arrangements arrive through accident, experimentation, and play as Nelson spray paints, stipples, draws, and etches into the surface of each painting, coaxing a mood, a bit of light, or an impossible view into being. Often adding mascara, nail polish and glitter to her maximalist palette of spray paint, acrylic, oil, and inks, Nelson creates fertile, nourishing, and deeply mysterious images of a land with its own agency and imbued with a distinctly feminist sensibility.
 
In this way, the landscapes reveal themselves as spiritual sites and places of imagination. These mediumistic works have roots in science fiction and world-building prompting the viewer to reflect on who we are and why we are here. Indeed there is an almost antagonistic aspect to some of the landscapes that, while overflowing with abundance and lifeforce, frames the viewer as distinctly outsider.  As Donald Kuspit wrote succinctly in his review for Artforum of Nelson’s 1988 show at Fawbush Gallery, “she suggests a condition so inherently 'unearthly' that her landscapes seem to exist beyond the force of earth's gravity.”

double 8

Left: Untitled, 2019–20 (JN_PL_2019-20013)
Right: Untitled, 2020 (JN_PL_2020010)
Inquire

"Nelson's landscapes...speak of yearning for and alienation from the natural world, an unbridgeable distance recorded in a postindustrial world." – Christopher Knight, LA Times, 2011

double 7

Left: Untitled, 2011 (JN_740)
Right: Untitled, 2011 (JN 737)
Inquire

"If her work is feminist, it is because she sets landscape free from ownership and paints past a masculine need to conquer." – Benjamin Terrell, 2020

double 6

Left: Untitled, 2011 (JN 736)
Right: Untitled, 2021 (JN_PL_2021027)
Inquire

"Nelson's landscapes are not simply reprises of traditional landscape, as they might appear to be at first glance, but fugitive, mannerist homages to the grand tradition of ideal landscape." – Donald Kuspit, Artforum, 1988

double 5

Left: Untitled, 2021 (JN_PL_2021021)
Right: Untitled, 2021 (JN_PL_2021024)
Inquire

double 4

Left: Untitled, 2021 (JN_PL_2021026)
Right: Untitled, 2021 (JN_PL_2021023)
Inquire

“In a painting, you can do things that defy gravity.”
– Joan Nelson, with Brienne Walsh, Forbes, 2020

double 3

Left: Untitled, 2021 (JN_PL_2021028)
Right: Untitled, 2021 (JN_PL_2021025)
Inquire

double 2

Left: Untitled, 2021 (JN_PL_2021031)
Right: Untitled, 2021 (JN_PL_2021032)
Inquire

double 1

Left: Untitled, 2021 (JN_WOP_69)
Right: Untitled, 2021 (JN_WOP_72)
Inquire

last photo

Untitled, 2020 (JN_PL_2020011)
Inquire

JoanExtraDBL 1

LeftUntitled, 2010 (JN 722)
Right: Untitled, 2010 (JN 731)
Inquire

JoanExtraDBL 2

Left: Untitled, 2010 (JN 734)

Right: Untitled, 2011 (JN 735)

Inquire

JoanExtraDBL 3

Left: Untitled, 2011 (JN 744)

Right: Untitled, 2011 (JN 749)

Inquire

JoanExtraDBL 4

Left: Untitled, 2011 (JN 738)

Right: Untitled, 2020 (JN 807)

Inquire

JoanExtraDBL 5

Left: Untitled, 2020 (JN_PL_2020002)

Right: Untitled, 2019–20 (JN_PL_2019-20006)

Inquire

JoanExtraDBL 7

Left: Untitlted, 2021 (JN_WOP_74)

Right: Untitled, 2021 (JN_PL_2021030)

Inquire

JoanExtraDBL 8

Left: Untitled, 2020 (JN_PL_2020020)

Right: Untitled, 2011 (JN 751)

Inquire

WOP-71

Joan Nelson, Untitled, 2021 (JN_WOP_71)

end text/artist info

Joan Nelson (b. 1958, California) lives and works in upstate New York. Her work has been exhibited widely at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York;  The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia, PA; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA ; Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, TX; Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI: the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, TX; Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA; among many others.  Her work is included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, all New York, NY; the Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA; the Minneapolis Museum of Art, MN; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington D.C.; and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA; Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, OH; and the Archer M. Huntington Art Gallery, University of Texas at Austin. Nelson received her BFA from Washington University, St. Louis, MO, and currently lives and works in upstate New York.