Nicole Gordon paints landscapes that lean on the whimsical and somewhat grim, an expression of beauty met with the horrors of real world change and transformation. The Chicago based artist cites namely 16th century painters Pieter Bruegel and Hieronymus Bosch as her inspiration, whose works while dramatic and highly stylized, also offered expressions of the every day of their time. Similarly, Gordon describes her work as a combination of fantasy with darker truths: her use of bright colors and out of place objects create an imaginative view of reality.
“I like to make commentary that’s veiled within some sort of beauty; something beautiful that upon closer inspection reveals itself to be more darker, more sinister,” she explains. Her recent body of work, currently showing at Linda Warren Projects in Chicago, realizes new scenery that are equally beautiful and eerie. Throughout, her paintings detect a deep concern for the environment; man-made structures are taken back by nature, as in works like “Congestion”, featuring pastoral landscapes overtaken by humongous highway systems, or “Stop the Ride”, depicting Disneyland’s Mad Tea Party teacups spinning in dramatic forests.
“I would say that my work reminds us of our flaws, but encourages us to overcome them,” Gordon says. “I attempt to create work that while dark and rather apocalyptic in many ways also incorporates ornate touches and decorative elements that serve to balance the somber and more serious imagery. These devices offer beautiful moments that happen alongside the often destructive ones and are meant to reflect hope and the possibility for change.”