100 Colorado Creatives: Nathan Abels

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Nathan Abels, "Lumen Vitae," acrylic on canvas, 2013.
#19: Nathan Abels

Painter Nathan Abels, who moved here from Indiana in 2007, is best known for his ethereally subtle landscapes, which somehow commit to canvas the faintest changes in atmosphere and nanoseconds of time. It's difficult work that he makes look easy and natural. Part of Robischon Gallery's stable of artists and an art instructor at Arapahoe Community College, Abels similarly paints the 100CC questionnaire with a clear and straightforward voice.

See also: 100 Colorado Creatives: Pangloss Gravitron

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Westword: If you could collaborate with anyone in history, who would it be, and why?

Nathan Abels: I collaborated with musicians on my last body of work, and if I could collaborate with anyone it might be the composer Arvo Pärt. He balances spare arrangements and drama in a way I find very inspiring. If I could work with Vija Celmins on some paintings or drawing, I would love that as well.

Who in the world is interesting to you right now, and why?

Lately, I have been enjoying Edward Abbey's musings on the wilderness and books that offer insight into our nation's decline. I read Morris Berman's off-the-cuff blog called Dark Ages America fairly frequently. Berman recently wrote Why America Failed about moral and cultural bankruptcy in America -- it's well-researched and quite poignant. James Howard Kunstler has also been an interesting writer and thinker to me for years. Most people know him from his book The Geography of Nowhere. His latest book, Too Much Magic, critiques our cultural tendency to believe that technology will solve all our problems. As a bit of a Luddite myself, I connect with his point of view.

It's not all doom and gloom -- in visual art, I have been intrigued by so-called "provisional" painting and modest artworks by artists like Sergej Jensen, Raoul de Keyser and Helmut Federle.

Continue reading for more from Nathan Abels.


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