Nina Bovasso’s high-chroma acrylic work is one of immense accumulation, repetition and patchwork. Floral landscapes, geometric construction, cartoonish-rendering and even the occasional architectural build-up are familiar themes. The result is an over-lapping assemblage of near-shape objects that is cheerfully inviting. Her drawings float delicately above the surface, creating approachable abstraction that entices the viewer in a way that few semi-abstract works can. Nina’s use of handmade translucent abaca paper helps establish a cause and effect relationship between her line work and surface. The natural texture of abaca with all its imperfections also yields a playful cockling effect that echoes her mark making like rippling water or gusts of wind.
Bovasso’s work often depicts intricate structures achieved with a conglomeration of tiny shapes, symbols, flowers, and dots. Its bright colors pop against neutral grounds. Bovasso is one of the few Workspace Artists who has had an affiliation with Dieu Donné before her residency. She has worked for many years on the Mill’s handmade papers, often using high-shrinkage linen or abaca as a substrate, applying her painted image, the moisture of which creates a buckling in the paper. The result is a true interaction between the paper and applied medium.
In working with Artistic Director Paul Wong during residency, Bovasso was able to create her imagery in the hand papermaking process. Working freely and intuitively, usually with brightly pigmented linen pulps in squeeze bottles, the artist created pulp paintings, usually without a base sheet. By bypassing the base sheet, Bovasso is able to create images with actual holes for negative space. For instance, a pulp painting that consists of many adjoining colored rings becomes a lattice-like structure.
During her residency, the artist also produced a series of Pressed Paper Platinum Records. For these, a black cotton base sheet was couched. Then a brightly colored, round sheet the size of a music album was couched on top. The dual-colored sheet was pressed in the hydraulic press against an actual vinyl record on either the back or front, leaving the paper either impressed or depressed by the texture of the record.
Born in New York City, Nina received her BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and MFA from Bard College. She has also studied at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture.
Workspace Program artist-in-residence 2003