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Nicole Duennebier’s Biomorphic, Absorbing Paintings

Boston-based painter Nicole Duennebier creates biomorphic paintings that blend the concepts of still-life with vague, sometimes unsettling lifeforms. These growths hint at marine life and other oddities of the natural world. Though, the artist says, the paintings’ subjects are “more spontaneous generations than firmly rooted in actual living organisms.”

Boston-based painter Nicole Duennebier creates biomorphic paintings that blend the concepts of still-life with vague, sometimes unsettling lifeforms. These growths hint at marine life and other oddities of the natural world. Though, the artist says, the paintings’ subjects are “more spontaneous generations than firmly rooted in actual living organisms.”


“Natural phenomenon—dermoid cysts, fungus, invasive flora/fauna—and my love of candied, old-master opulence have a constant presence in my work,” the artist says, in a statement. “Through painting with attention to detail, I’ve become accustomed to the fact that nature itself, or anything living really, never totally allows you to have a perfectly idealized experience. Everything is always spewing, dripping, rotting a little.”

Duennebier is a graduate of the Maine College of Art, where her BFA thesis included research into Maine’s coastal ecosystems and complicated marine life.Duennebier, a recent recipient of Massachusetts Cultural Council Painting Fellowship, notes that “similar to 17th century still-life paintings with those vibrant lusty fruits that show the light fuzz of beginning decay, I don’t see these works as allegorical depictions. To me it is more the realization that both the rot and the fruit are a textural attraction in their delicacy; both take the same concentration and care to paint.”

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