My parents fostered in me and my siblings an abiding love for nature, its tangible manifestations of sky, sea, and land as well as its intimations of the unseen, the infinite, and its invitation to imagine.
I found painting to be the most compelling way to continue my connection to nature and delve more deeply into the unseen. It has been through the practice and process of painting that I reference those memories viscerally, triggering them with what I observe, read, and know in my contemporary world. Because it is very important for me to "wonder" as I paint, I approach painting by asking questions, just as a scientist does, and it is through my investigation of these questions that a painting is built with one curiosity layered on top of another. I start by pouring paint on a canvas to make a base and further define a structure. As I paint I find that each piece gives me a thread to follow for the next painting, and gradually a body of work emerges.
My own visual language of mark-making has developed over the years, so that each painted stroke helps me find new configurations of the natural world through space, color and form. These marks consist of circles, squares, and rectangles and the sum total of these gestures explores uncharted territories of imagined landscapes. In their labor-intensive accumulation, the marks help define the passage of time both in the work and in the course of making it.
When I dwell in a place, it becomes embedded in me. When I observe a place, there is a conversation between the observed and me that leads to an interpretation through memory, idea, and imagination. What remains in the painting is an experiential transformation of that place, and what remains in me is a transformation of being there.
Anne Neely: Water Stories
Kathryn Markel Fine Arts
529 West 20th Street 6W, New York, NY
April 23 — May 23, 2015
URBAN MARSH, 2020
Anne Neely — Water Stories: A Conversation in Paint and Sound
Museum of Science, Boston
July 2014 – January 2015
"This exhibit not only invites inquiry, it models it. The paintings are a set of intellectual and emotional breadcrumbs left behind as Anne journeyed through the phenomenon of water. We can experience and interpret her creations, but we can also pursue our own paths of inquiry — among the paintings and within each one's visual complexities."
— David G. Rabkin, PhD, Director for Current Science and Technology, Museum of Science, Boston, MA
▹ Book published: Water Stories
▹ Full information about project
TROUBLED WATERS, 2012
LOST (RIVER), 2014
ALCHEMY SOUP, 2014
RUN OFF, 2014
Mopang: Recent Paintings
Lohin Geduld Gallery
New York, NY
Catalog with essay by Jonathan Franzen.
"She posits a natural oneness of the visible and the buried, and then, in her painting, she achieves it."
— Jonathan Franzen
POND PARK, 2009-11
KETTLE HOLE, 2010-11
OFF ISLAND, 2010–11
MOONS OVER MOPANG, 2010
"Kettle Hole (2010–11) could be a forest under a night sky beyond a field of ice, or a bed of lake flora over another bed of limestone. Packets of color, formed by the knifing of white onto a fiendishly complicated background, cross the chilly scene. They look like coded messages, parcels en route to points east and west of the painting. The speeding, abstracted traffic brings Julie Mehretu to mind, though Neely does a more convincing job cohering the flurry of marks into a painting...
Neely never allows the sentiment behind a work to turn into sentiment in the work. She has felt the problem with great depth, yet at no expense to her artistry. Thus she can produce paintings like Tidal (2010), a fiery Divisionist landscape under a sweeping orange sky. Its summery dots could be joyful. Its blue mass in the distance could be a scorched, disappearing lake. The painting understates the message, keeping within the borders of art, where it excels."
—Franklin Einspruch, artcritical.com, October 6, 2011
Where There's Water
Lohin Geduld Gallery
New York, NY
Statement by the Artist
"Although my work has always had a specific content, the act of painting most compels me, guides me and gives me the opportunity to reinvent landscape, the natural world, and myself."
— Anne Neely
WHERE THERE'S WATER, 2009
A FRONT, 2008
INWARD LAKES, 2008
"Though many of the 14 oil-on-linen paintings (all 2008 or '09) in "Where There's Water," Anne Neely's third solo exhibition at Lohin Geduld, pay homage to the lakes, tidal inlets and aquifers surrounding her Maine studio, their real subject is paint and the improvisational gusto of its handling. Neely reveals a visceral connection to her subject matter by way of a process that echoes nature's dynamism, a discourse not dissimilar to that of her contemporary, Joan Snyder."
— Elisa Decker, Art in America, September 2009
Just the Elements:New Paintings
Essay by William Corbett.
"The little paintings are a clue to the big ones. They tell the viewer that what Neely absorbed underwent the powerful compressing force of her imagination. Her big paintings are packed but have a lyrical flow. She is painting all of what her imagination has given her in a mosaic of earthy and ethereal colors. This show may be "just" the elements but it achieves a powerful simultaneity of means and ends."
— William Corbett, from the essay "Anne Neely: Just the Elements"
JUST THE ELEMENTS, 2007–08
REVERSING TIDES, 2005–08
"The 15 breathtaking works here, ranging in size from a sheet of legal paper to 5 by 7 feet, have roots in the visible components of the natural world. But unlike some of Neely's earlier prints and paintings, which featured recognizable plant forms and landscapes, these pieces fracture and distill land, sky, and water into total abstraction...Neely celebrates the unlimited possibilities within a finite number of elements — in paint or on the periodic table."
— Joanne Silver, "Anne Neely, Alpha, Boston", ARTnews, April 2009
"With her imagination, she probes ideas: water resources, aquifers, layers of earth, connections between the earth's layers and those of smaller organisms. With her brush, she pushes at the boundaries of landscape with a giddy array of marks and colors, all stretching in horizontal bands across linen backing...Neely's works are serious; they offer so much to the eye, and they touch upon water's potential scarcity. Still, the sheer joy in their making cannot be missed."
— "'Elements' pushes landscape to its boundaries," Cate McQuaid, The Boston Globe, Wednesday, October 8, 2008
What the Weather Brings
Lohin Geduld Gallery
New York, NY
Catalogue with essay "Breezing Up, Ripple, Squall, and Flow" by Susan Stoops, former Curator of Contemporary Art, Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, MA.
"The natural events referred to in the titles of Anne Neely's recent paintings suggest a world in a constant state of flux — changes, yes, but not of the cataclysmic sort. Rather they are subtle occurrences, momentary reminders of the instabilities, shifts, and irregularities that we must negotiate throughout our lives, or in other words, 'what the weather brings.'"
—Susan Stoops, "Breezing Up, Ripple, Squall, and Flow"
GREEN RIVER, 2006
LAST LOOK, 2007
"With this show the basic elements hold things together such as the abstracted landscape theme or how the paint and color are varied. This permits Neely to free-range around her boundaries and sometimes to jump a fence or two while taking us with her...Neely endows...all her w
ork with enough abstract ambiguity to similarly free up interpretations. While it's clear that she is interested in a particular theme for the subject matter, as a viewer you can follow aong or carve your own path."
— Joseph Walentini, Abstract Art Online, March 15, 2007
Anne Neely: Going West
Catherine Hammond Gallery
Glengarriff, West Cork, Ireland
GOING WEST, 2004
AGAINST THE SKY, 2004
"Neely has a nice, light touch, and her paintings could be seen as a series of meditations on or inspired by landscape... She had two ideas running through her mind: ‘the pervasive sense of the Irish past and the constant relationship of land to weather.’ While the starting point is (County) Mayo, Neely’s concerns are more general, touching on our relationship with nature, with the way the land weighs us down or sets us free, and how it offers us imaginative space."
— Aidan Dunne, The Irish Times, August 12, 2005
Anne Neely: The Edge of the World
Lohin Geduld Gallery
New York, NY
Catalog essay "Sojourner" by Margaret Matthews-Berenson
"A restless, searching energy radiates from all corners of Anne Neely's recent paintings. While she continues to explore the same themes, which have characterized her work for over two decades — the relationship between man and nature, a personal dialogue with the language of mark-making, and the quest for spirit through matter — these paintings reveal new territory of investigation as she deepens her commitment to abstraction."
—Margaret Matthews-Berenson, "Sojourner"
PRIMAL SOUP, 2003–04
"Working in a hierarchical manner, the bottom half of Neely’s canvases in her current show are tenuous, illusionistic landscapes that create the effect of deep skies...Clustered at the top of her work is the place reserved for vibrant, painterly, quilty balloons, as if dreams of paintings yet to be realized. It’s a great mix where the fleshy paint handling of an artist like Joan Snyder meets the pulpy details of a Stettheimer or the feminist iconographer Miriam Shapiro."
— David Spiher, Gay City News, Volume 4, March 3–9, 2005
"Metaphorically these paintings offer a madcap urban sensibility: a purview of a city as a vibrant living organism."
— Joseph Walentini, Abstract Art OnLine, New York Views March 1
Anne Neely: Without Gravity
ISLAND DANCE, 2002
GIACOMETTI'S GARDEN, 2002
"Neely has described her work as holding the tension between spirit and matter. These new paintings feel more like spirits exultant triumph over matter: they’re giddy and playful."
— Cate McQuaid, The Boston Globe, "Taking Landscapes to a new horizon," Review
"Neely is clearly adept at using the vocabulary of abstraction to seek out meaning in earthly, as well as ethereal, phenomena."
— Cynthia Nadelman, Art News, National Reviews, March 2004
Anne Neely: Garden of Memory
NIGHT GARDEN, 2001
RISING FLOWER, GREEN, 2001
"While Neely’s single flower as subject matter is indebted to Piet Mondrian’s floral works, her spontaneous handling of paint calls to mind such Abstract Expressionists as Joan Mitchell, Neely’s pleasure in the material is most obvious in her frequent addition of jewel-tone slabs of paint that jut out from the canvas. It’s a brilliant touch. The small chunk forces the eye to snap back from the comfort of familiar imagery and into the composition’s nuances, in which the abundance of the garden is transformed into a bounty of abstract possibilities."
— Mary Sherman, Art News, National Reviews, March 2002
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