With the onset of Covid-19, Blanche Nettles Powers withdrew to her studio and produced this new series of process-based, semi-monochromatic paintings that explore the dichotomy of intention and accident with the goal of comfortable resolution. Her first solo exhibition at Laney Contemporary Fine Art in her hometown in Savannah, Structure of Comfort will be on view June 18th to August 29th. The title of the exhibition has been appropriated from Katherine Kolcaba’s theory Taxonomic Structure of Comfort published in the 1990s – the medical nursing theory used to assess and provide comfort to hospitalized patients.The exhibition title is in deference to the comfort that caregivers provide during these unprecedented times.
Swatches of fabrics and images of handwoven carpets are used as reference material, as an entry point into the paintings. Thin layers of oil paint are applied and scrubbed into the surface, emphasizing the irregular weave and nubby texture of the linen. Layers of paint are wiped away and new layers applied. Initial marks, made with rags, brushes and pours, rise to the surface and intertwine with fresh marks. In time a new warp and weft emerges. Early phases of the work are no longer visible, however the painting holds the memory. Each work is in vertical portrait format, mirroring the stance of the viewer. The larger paintings of this series are human scale, inviting one to enter the space and to reflect in meditation.
The structure of fabric is understood by the artist as a metaphor for community or society. Individual threads come together to form the whole. Nettles Powers associates fabric swatches with childhood memories of her mother, endlessly engaged in sewing projects. As a result, textiles have an inherently feminine connotation for the artist rooted in memory.The titles of the paintings are names of women of note, who have come to her attention during the period of making the work. These paintings are essentially about the concept of comfort through repetition, structure, pattern, and association.
Hill – Fiona Hill is a British American US foreign affairs advisor specializing in Russian and European affairs.
Bottoms – Keisha Lance Bottoms is Mayor of Atlanta.
Alcindor – Yamiche Alcindor is an American journalist, White House correspondent for PBS News Hour.
Ifil – Gwen Ifil was an American journalist and co-anchor of PBS News Hour.
Hittman – Eliza Hittman is an American film director and producer. Work includes Never Rarely Sometime Always.
Webster – Fay Webster is an Atlanta based musician and song writer.
Sciamma – Celine Sciamma is a French screenwriter and director whose work includes Portrait of a Lady on Fire.
Born in Rochester, Minnesota, Blanche Nettles Powers earned an MFA and BFA from Savannah College of Art and Design. For the past ten years, Nettles Powers has maintained her studio practice in Savannah, Georgia. She has been awarded several artist residencies which have taken her to various parts of the United States, including New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, Wyoming, and Colorado.
2019 Studios at MASS MoCA, Artist Residency, North Adams, Massachusetts
2018 Anderson Ranch Arts Center, Presidential Scholarship, Summer Workshop, Snowmass Village, Colorado
2017 Jentel Foundation, Artist Residency, full award, Banner, Wyoming
2017 Studios at MASS MoCA, Artist Residency, merit-based artist grant, North Adams, Massachusetts
2016 Anderson Ranch Arts Center, Presidential Scholarship, Summer Workshop, Snowmass Village, Colorado
2016 Vermont Studio Center, Artist Residency, merit-based artist grant, Johnson, Vermont
2015 Vermont Studio Center, Artist Residency, Johnson, Vermont
2010 Ossabaw Foundation Visiting Artist Program, Ossabaw Island, Georgia
2007 SCAD NYC Studio Workspace Residency, Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts building, New York, NY
2005-08 Academic Fellowship, SCAD MFA Program, Savannah, Georgia
Select Solo Exhibitions
2020 Structure of Comfort, Laney Contemporary, Savannah, GA
2019 Billie, Kim Foster Gallery, New York, NY
2013 Ghost Within, Savannah College of Art and Design, Arnold Hall Gallery, Savannah, GA
2012 Tillandsia Usneoides, Kim Foster Gallery, New York, NY
Select Two/Three Artists Exhibitions
2014 Mushrooms, Moss, and a Movie: Jim Toia, Blanche Nettles Powers, and Peter O’Kennedy, Kim Foster Gallery, New York, NY
2011 Cain, Powers, Sandoz, 1704Lincoln, Savannah, GA
2010 Kevin Archer/Blanche Nettles Powers, Astolfi Art, Atlanta, GA
Select Group Exhibitions
2019 VERVE, Kim Foster Gallery, New York, NY
2018 Art Papers, 19th Annual Art Auction, Atlanta, GA
2017 Summer Renewal, Kim Foster Gallery, New York, NY
2017 Spring Forward, Kim Foster Gallery, New York, NY
2017 Winterfell, Kim Foster Gallery, New York, NY
2017 ArtFields, Lake City, SC
2017 Art Papers, 18th Annual Art Auction, Atlanta, GA
2016 Back to the Future, Kim Foster Gallery, New York, NY
2016 Come in From the Cold, Kim Foster Gallery, New York, NY
2016 Art Papers 17th Annual Art Auction, Bo Bo Intriguing Objects, Atlanta, GA
2015 Art Papers 16th Annual Art Auction, Bo BoIntriguing Objects, Atlanta, GA
2015 Fresh: A Group Studio Show, 1704Lincoln, Savannah, GA
2014 Sequential Abstraction, Kim Foster Gallery, New York NY
2014 Southern Discomfort 2: Art Inspired by Flannery O’Connor, ThincSav, Savannah, GA
2013 Particle Physical, Kim Foster Gallery, New York, NY
2013 SECAC 2013 Members’ Exhibition, Juror Nancy Doll, Gatewood Gallery, UNC at Greensboro, NC
2013 Historic Savannah Foundation Art Auction, Ships of the Sea Museum, Savannah, GA
2013 SlideLuck Savannah, Oglethorpe Gallery, Savannah, GA
2012 Selections Summer 2012, Kim Foster Gallery, New York, NY
2012 SCAD Scholarship Gala, Savannah, GA
2012 State of Man, Art Hound, Cohen Retreat, Savannah, GA
2012 Southern Discomfort: Art Inspired by Flannery O’Connor, 1704Lincoln, Savannah, GA
2011 Night, Kim Foster Gallery, New York, NY
2011 SCAD Scholarship Gala, Savannah, GA
2011 9 at 1704, 1704Lincoln, Savannah, GA
2011 Art Sounds, Indigo Sky Gallery, Savannah, GA
2010 SCAD Scholarship Gala, Savannah and Atlanta, GA
2010 Small Works-CFAC and Friends, Indigo Sky Gallery, Savannah, GA
2010 CAS Fine Art Fall Group Exhibition, Savannah, GA
2010 Ossabaw Foundation Art Auction, Ossabaw Island, GA
2010 Planet Home, Gutstein Gallery SCAD, Savannah, GA
2009 Gallery Wrap, Kim Foster Gallery, New York, NY
2009 The 24th Tallahassee International, FSU Museum of Fine Arts, Tallahassee, FL
2009 Smooth Finish, Pei Ling Chan Gallery, SCAD, Juror Melissa Messina, Savannah, GA
2008 Gallery Goulash, Kim Foster Gallery, New York, NY
Other Related Professional Experience
2017 Guest Presenter, Jentel Presents, SAGE Community Arts Center, Sheridan, Wyoming.
2014 Guest Juror, SCAD Undergraduate Drawing Exhibition, Alexander Hall Gallery
2014 Guest Speaker: “Drawing the Endgame,” SCAD-Alexander Hall Auditorium, Savannah
2014 Mentor, SCAD Foundation Studies Department
2009-12 “Wilmington Plantation” on loan to Miller Union courtesy of Whitespace Gallery, Atlanta, GA
2006 SCAD Commission, Sixteen landscapes
2004 SCAD Commission, Forty paintings for G-8 Summit Press Center, Savannah International Trade & Convention Center, Sav, GA
Memorial Health University
Savannah College of Art and Design
Paula Wallace, SCAD President and Founder
“10 Opening Exhibitions to Watch.” – MutualArt. MutualArt Services, Inc., 19 Feb. 2014. Web. 23 Mar 2014.
Abney, ODelle. “Kim Foster Gallery- Peter O’Kennedy, Blanche Nettles Powers, Jim Toia:Mushrooms, Moss,and a Movie” NYC Gallery Openings. You Tube, 21 Feb 2014. Web. 23 March. 2014.
Abney, ODelle. “Kim Foster – Show of Gallery Artists.” NYC Gallery Openings. You Tube, 11 July 2012. Web. 15 Nov. 2013.
Abney, ODelle. “Kim Foster Gallery – Paul Glabicki: Order; Blanche Nettles Powers: Tillandsia Usneoides.” NYC Gallery Openings. You Tube, 17 Mar. 2012. Web. 15 Nov. 2013.
Devlin, Ryan, ed. “Where to Buy: Blanche Nettles Powers, A Select Exhibition in a Private Gallery.” The Week Magazine 13 Apr. 2012:26. Print.
Kim Foster Gallery. Blanche Nettles Powers: Tillandsia Usneoides. Artforum.com/uploads/guide. Artforum, Mar. 2012. Web. 17 Nov. 2013.
McGrorty, Natalie. “Wanderings…Blanche Nettles Powers.” The Gnat and the Fish. Google Blogger, 9Dec. 2011. Web. 15 Nov. 2013.
MFA Savannah College of Art and Design
MEd Georgia Southern University
BFA Savannah College of Art and Design, Cum Laude