Monday, May 20, 2024

Local artist Nena Howell, debuts art at Gallery 110 as EmergEAST finalist


Founded in 2018, Gallery 110’s Emerging Artist Program provides visual artists exhibition opportunities, subsidized gallery membership and other resources to help grow their art career. This year, eligible applicants are those emerging visual artists who live in Eastern Washington without significant solo exhibitions and/or gallery representation. With this program, we sought to support artists from predominantly rural regions in WA who are not afforded similar access and opportunities to connect with larger audiences in metro areas.

During an inspiring reception celebrating the ten finalists from eastern Washington at Gallery 110 in Seattle, the jurors selected three awardees:

• Sarah Barnett, Core membership

• H.R. Emi, Affiliate membership

• Nena Howell, Affiliate membership

Congratulations to Sarah, H.R., and Nena as we welcome them into the gallery community.

At Gallery 110, we have two categories of membership: Core and Affiliate. Both afford different exhibition opportunities and full access to other gallery benefits for both levels. An Affiliate level was established to provide more accessible membership options for different artist needs.

As is often the case, selecting artists for awards is always challenging as each artist has a unique vision, background, need for support, and experience presenting their artwork. Each of the 15 artists that originally exhibited at Heritage University in Toppenish, and the 10 finalists chosen to exhibit in Seattle were all very deserving artists and are to be commended for their efforts in creating and exhibiting their artwork in each venue. Congratulations to all.

The EmergEAST Finalist Exhibition is a collaboration with Heritage University Art Department and Gallery 110 in Seattle and generously supported in part by the Robert B. McMillen Foundation, 4Culture, the Seattle Office of Arts and Culture, and generous donations from the community.

Artist statement from Nena Howell:

Like my ancestral spirits beating on their drums, my work is born out of that feeling of celebration and rhythm. I find a sweet calmness in that soft, intertwined place with my brushes and oils. When I’m in that in-between space that connects, it creates a fluidity that enlivens and energizes my palette. Every day is an imaginative quest lost in time. I bring themes of survival, connection, stewardship, respect, and gratitude forward on canvas. I seek out and witness pursuits and passions that enmesh that intimate connection between people and nature. With transparent and thick strokes where figures meet nature. My contemporary figurative artist with reverence for my Northwestern coastal Tlingit formline and abstract expressionism style.

I continue to find inspiration from artists such as Richard Schmid, Lee Krasner, Jeffrey T. Larson, Preston Singletary and, of course, the works of my late grandfather, master Tlingit artist, Rudolph Walton from Sitka, AK. His works can be found at the Burke Museum, Seattle, Washington and in all Pacific Northwest and Canadian museums. Reverence for my elders, stewardship for all people, land and sea finds pride of place in my work. My work is an expression of the movement and spiritual energy that connects all life.

I’ve always revered the tools in my hands - garden implements, playing board/card games, and drawing tools. My brushes and oils are my air and water. It’s more than materials and what can be seen, it’s presence and a guiding fluid energy that connects and celebrates all sentient life.

Background: Nena feels her ancestral spirits guide as she creates her contemporary figurative oil paintings. Nena’s work is an expression of movement and connection that intersect people and nature. Born from her Tlingit Indian and Ukrainian roots she strives to infuse each work with themes of abundance, wellness, and stewardship. After a full career in business and marketing, in the winter of 2020, Howell pivoted full-time to the development of her art. She currently works from her studio in Wenatchee, not far from her childhood home in Edmonds, Washington.


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