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Worcester’s Carrie Nixon Creates Intellectual Challenging Art

Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Jeffrey Starr, GoLocalWorcester Contributor

"Evasion" 5" x 7" oil on canvas, 2013

Worcester's Carrie Nixon is a woman with intellectual heft and of many different artistic talents. Her favorite medium to work in is oils and strongly prefers painting human subjects, but she continues to spread her wings, using pastels and charcoal, and often experimenting with landscapes. Indeed, this subject is rather irresistible upon first moving to the beautiful environment of New England.

"I keep a sketchbook with me at all times. Since moving to New England, I have enjoyed painting landscapes outdoors (en plein air) in the summers, but my studio work has primarily involved human figures," remarks the artist.

Intellectual Stimulation for Both Artist and Viewer

She focuses on these human figures for many important reasons. Few other subjects allow the artist to delve deep into philosophical and intellectual matters the way human beings do. She wants to challenge the viewer on a psychological level.

'The challenge of creating convincing human figures has always attracted me; at the same time, figures serve as vehicles to raise psychological, social, and physical questions," says her artist's statement.

Her work as evolved through the years but she has always kept this same purpose in mind.

"Whereas my work of several years ago was hard-edged and unambiguous, my recent works embrace figures in motion, blurriness, and the element of chance. These explore issues of temporality and the integration of randomness with control," she says again in her artist's statement.

A recent series of hers explores people at work in a range of professions from students to waitresses and carpenters.

"I generally work in a series in order to deepen my acquaintance with a subject...One idea may lead to another, or ideas may come from a period of experimentation. Seeing other artists’ work can also provoke new ideas."

Just as she wishes to challenge the viewer, she loves to challenge herself as well and this plays into her unique style and method of creation.

"Painting is constantly challenging, but the physicality and juiciness of the paint and exploration of color relationships give me a lot of pleasure. I enjoy working under pressure at a rapid pace, such as the 2-minute gestures that artists do during figure drawing sessions, as well as painting outdoors as the light changes. This pressure forces me to draw and paint more gesturally," says Carrie.

An Impressive Educational Background

Her desire to make her artwork intellectual stimulating is no surprise given her educational background. She initially came to New England to study art at Yale. In addition, she traveled to Europe and studied in Rome for a semester. Now, as many have recognized her talents and credentials, she has become an art teacher herself. She spent a post-grad year teaching in Lima, Peru and then after receiving an MFA from Wayne State University, she taught at the University of Cincinnati for many years. She has come back to New England and Worcester specifically to teach painting at Assumption College.

Her Goals Remain the Same

Any student would be lucky to share in Carrie's talents, but getting to her level of competence is a rare feat. She has set ideas about where she wants to go with every piece she begins. Each viewer individually can decide how often she is able hit the mark.

"I hope that my art raises questions, such as in my current series of portraits from the back where one can barely see the subjects’ faces. I also hope that my paintings, in providing an alternative viewpoint, encourage people to look up from their screens and smart phones at the world around them," she says.

For more information on Carrie Nixon or to view her artwork please visit her website.