Anne Neely
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Artist Statement


Anne Neely

Photo by Christine Chilcott


Hidden in Plain Sight

For over four decades I have cherished the transformative act of making art. For many years my paintings were about beauty and foreboding in the natural world with an emphasis on water issues in the last decade. I have used my curiosity about this world to explore, respond, reinvent and express ideas through painting. Scientific knowledge was a base from which I began a painting about the environment and from there I would imagine. Now with far fewer days on the planet in front of me than behind, I have shifted my focus from the external world and turned inward, only to discover stories that have surrounded me all my life.

In both the landscape and the personal narrative paintings, I set up similar compositional structures that hold the same challenges. Using different points of view, my painting language is culled from countless mark makings of lines, rectangles and different forms honed during years of printmaking. When I approach a painting, I ask questions from which a painting is built. One might say that by placing one layer on top of another, my paintings come to life.

Although I remain deeply connected to Nature, I find that I disappear into the landscape. However, in these story paintings, I am front and center. The difference and experience of these current paintings is that I forage emotional territory where extreme fear and joy join forces and become intimates. This connectivity between joy and fear has formed my life and the constant is my art. Now as I look back at experiences surrounding the curious child, the observant adolescent, the rebellious daughter, the adventurous teenager, the too young wife, the anxious single mother, the passionate woman, the tenacious artist, the emphatic teacher, the insistent environmentalist, the philosophical friend, the supportive partner I find these stories are often awkward, comical, certainly emotional, and always surprising.

Stories thread all of us together, bound, one by one, into a necklace of connective energy that is our essential humanness. These stories, whether mine or yours, are “Hidden in Plain Sight” for all of us and are rooted in the acknowledgement that life is an enigma. For me, understanding this is to be present. I am most present through painting, referencing memory, imagination and reverie.

Anne Neely
Dorchester, MA
September 2017