In an effort to maintain safety measures and ensure physical distancing, we have been visiting our artists in their studios virtually. Double Insight is a new series which offers a glimpse into the artist studio and workplace; the sacred place where creative life and creative process coexist.
Jeff Nachtigall was born in Yorkton, Saskatchewan and over the past number of years has split his time between Toronto, Montreal and Regina. Nachtigall received his BFA from the University of Regina and further continued his studies at the Illinois State University. Nachtigall’s work is included in a number of permanent collections including the Saskatchewan Arts Board, RBC Art Collection, Mackenzie Art Gallery, Kenderdine Art Gallery, Alberta Foundation for the Arts, Nordstrom Corporate Art Collection (Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto & Austin, TX) and many other private corporate collections across North America. Art residencies have taken him to the Banff Centre, Toronto Island, Dominican Republic, Montreal, New Orleans, and upstate New York.
Nachtigall’s work borrows equally from pop culture & art history, merging lowbrow DIY sensibilities with conceptualism. Pushing the boundaries of postmodern paradigms and exploring the tropes of modernism – Nachtigall’s work borrows from Art Brut, Outsider Art, German Expressionism & Neo Expressionism. Although the materials have evolved, the disregard of formalism is clearly evident & brings the periods of the past, well into the future.
Nachtigall’s work is included in a number of permanent collections including the Saskatchewan Arts Board, Nordstrom Corporate Art Collection, RBC Art Collection, Mackenzie Art Gallery, Alberta Foundation for the Arts as well as many other private & corporate collections across North America. Art residencies have taken him to the Banff Centre, Toronto Island, Dominican Republic, Montreal, New Orleans, upstate New York, & now Regina.
Currently, Jeff’s 6000 square foot studio is in an underused warehouse building located in Regina, Saskatchewan. Last year, Jeff returned to the prairies to visit his family prior to embarking on 3 concurrent residencies in Barcelona, Istanbul & Budapest. However, he never made it to Europe; Shortly before departure Jeff suffered a massive heart attack which instantly derailed his year abroad. Since that fateful day, Jeff has been recovering & continues to immerse himself in his studio practice with an unprecedented vigor, vision & intensity. His work has always been expressive & his undertaking of large paintings, impressive to say the least… currently tackling 20 ft canvases with a new found lease on life.
Barrhead Supersonic // Jeff’s thoughts:
My practice affords me the opportunity to be in a state of constant play. The studio environment constitutes the sandbox where blank surfaces and raw materials catapult me into realms of perpetual exploration. This quixotic journey is furthered with every mark made, each revealing another path suitable for my compulsive navigation.
“Do something, do something to that, and then do something to that.”
– Jasper Johns
A process of mark making that begins with an improvised act interests me. As the work evolves, carefully considered marks begin to replace the expressive gesture. The succession of these marks advances each stage of the painting, and provides fertile ground for the continuing development of content and subject matter. I respond to marks made, palettes change and evolve as color is applied and the addition of subject matter informs the potential direction of the painting. I’m not always sure where things will go and even when I have a relatively clear idea, this responsive process usually dictates the final outcome.
Story telling is woven directly into the process of the work, often prompting the development of non-linear narratives that subsequently inform the subject matter. My work is graphic by nature and borrows from print media, advertising, comic books, popular culture and graffiti. This sensibility is combined with a deep appreciation and respect for self-taught artists intuitive mark making, use of colour and sense of composition. I frequently tip my hat to modernism and hard edge painting and continuously cite the old masters while acknowledging my contemporaries and current art direction(s)
After a number of years in Toronto and Montreal I found myself back in Saskatchewan. My reintroduction to rural life occurred a year ago when I left Regina and moved to a three-season cabin on Last Mountain Lake. Here I find myself surrounded by a way of life that is at once familiar and exotic. Each day I trek across a frozen lake to a small studio in an abandoned building. A diesel generator supplies electricity and a wood stove provides warmth. I paint from dawn until dusk. I travel as the light allows, avoiding the dark and the cold. Coyotes howling, shadows stretching and my snowshoes chiming against the ice like dinner bells.