Nate's Notes on Subtle Grandeur

Award-winning artist and teacher, Nate Durnin shares his notes on our show…

Robert Bohné


Soft atmosphere suggests subtle grandeur in the paintings of Robert Bohné. An atmosphere that is perhaps the result of a humid summer day or maybe it's reminiscent of early morning light. Beyond what's tangible or observable the soft passages of light construct spaces that exist somewhere between memory and now or reality and spirituality. Buildings, ships, and highways become submerged into a hazy, dreamlike world. Like large monuments in the distance, these structures convey feelings of importance and meaning beyond their normal associations. When the human elements are absent, the monumental feeling remains in the artist's handling of large skies and deep spaces. 

 A similar sentiment is found in Bohné's more intimate subjects. Though no longer dealing with the grand space of the outdoors, the same atmosphere permeates the artist's still lifes and figures. An object as simple as a pineapple imbues mystery and meaning. The soft focus and lost edges forgo the simplicity of the subject into a deeper sentiment. 

Through hazy days and blurred lines, Bohné's paintings suggest that what's obscured is of equal importance to what is so clearly stated.  


Jan Wier

Between flowers bursting with color and cupcakes abundant with frosting, there is an unapologetic and wonderful decadence to Jan Wier's paintings. As visually rich as the subjects, the paint adorns the canvas like frosting on a cake. With a loose yet confident application, Wier's brushstrokes simultaneously exist between the illusion and the surface of the canvas. At times the paint is not afraid to break from the subject in the form of blurs and drips. 

While the works address confectionary and luxurious subjects, the paintings are far from saccharine. Though it may be tempting to embellish, the subjects are often presented with a sense of restraint. Neutral backgrounds and faded drapes tastefully frame the saturated cakes and flowers while the centered compositions display the subjects with a blunt realism. The restraint applied does not detract from the lavish qualities of the subjects but rather amplifies their visual appeal. 

It is so often that paintings ask their viewers for solemnity, reverence, and manners, but in the work of Jan Wier, the viewer is permitted to indulge. 

Gretchen Fuss


Landscape, figure, and abstraction collide in the works of Gretchen Fuss. One is reminded of seascapes, snow drifts, and large skies when viewing Fuss' paintings, but the fleeting images are less reminiscent of specific places and more akin to the feelings associated with those subjects. With the burden of the image cast aside, Fuss is allowed to introduce other elements into the painting. Various textures overlap and converse creating exciting surfaces that convey deep space yet also reiterate the flat surface. Paint drips freely across the canvas and intensely saturated colors introduce themselves in unexpected ways. 

Fuss' work weaves between deceiving minimalism and multi-layered compositions. Like a haiku, the artist conveys a deep sentiment in her minimalist work with the smallest amount of resources. Other paintings are intricate layers of color, gestural lines and impasto. The forms created sometimes intertwine gracefully and other times tumultuously.