Jill Harrington Nichols’ exploration of nature is intrinsic to her practice. Nichols’ paintings range from small observational studies to large composite works that play with space and mathematics. Jill is best known for her extraordinary understanding and handling of color. While painting the landscape Jill had a vision whereby space was broken into pyramidal fractals. Everything in view was a stream of three-dimensional triangles. This understanding provided her a visual measure with which to express the time-space continuum in her work. Land and water fell away as her focus turned toward clouds on metal. On a visit to a scrap yard Nichols found an eight-foot by three-foot piece of copper. This proved perfect for catching the deep space and time of the Carina Nebula. Employing geometry, she transformed a Hubble Space telescope image into what many consider to be an abstract painting, ‘Phi’, now a part of the Vatican permanent art collection.
Nichols’ sense of color and composition was developed over the course of many years as a commercial artist. She earned her BS in Journalism, Advertising at the University of Colorado, Boulder. In 2000, she set her focus to painting, at first training at the Art Students League in NYC and going on to earn her MFA in painting at Western Connecticut State University.
She is represented in the permanent collections of the Vatican Observatory Museum, University of Connecticut Health Center, Yale Medical Center, and former FBI Director James Comey. She is an adjunct professor of art at the University of New Haven and conducts international painting workshops. Her next workshop will be in Italy, July 2020, click here to find out more.
“Painting is an act of abstraction, and one could go further and say that all of life is an abstraction. That it is ambiguous. We are always trying to find order out of chaos, form out of the formless. Attempting to label and categorize — so that we can have a hold on what we consider ‘reality’. So that we can recognize a tree for example and can communicate to one another that this tree exists. When one stops to really look at the tree however it ceases to be a tree and becomes an abstraction of shapes and color.
My painting is poetry, a lyrical composition of color and light infused with a profound reverence for nature. When I am painting, I am in the moment, thoroughly present and enraptured. I experience a sense of peace, as well as an urgency to capture and share the moment. It is a privilege to paint. Working through the melancholy of impermanence, skirting the shadows and embracing a particular time and place set along the infinite in a slip knot; enveloping the invisible birdsong, grasping a flint of light reflected off the water, enfolding the luminous cloud as it undulates through a harmony of color, often gone before the brush even touches paint. Inadvertently documenting the vanishing. All the while sensing glimpses of truth only revealed to the soul. Echoes reverberating from the surface of the canvas like a sonar in search of its return signal.”
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