Nicole Duennebier was born in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1983. She received her Bachelor in Fine Arts at Maine College of Art with a major in painting. Her BFA thesis work was most influenced by research about the coastal ecosystems of Maine. In 2006, she was awarded the Monhegan Island Artists Residency. On the island she continued her work with sea life. Duennebier saw a natural connection between the darkness and intricacy of undersea regions and the aesthetic of 16th century Dutch still-life painting. In 2008 she moved to the Boston area, and lives and works in Somerville.
Duennebier is a 2016 Massachusetts Cultural Council Painting Fellow. Her work can be found in the permanent collection of the New Britain Museum of American Art and was featured in Amanda Palmer’s The Grand Theft Art Companion. Cate McQuaid of the Boston Globe called Bright Beast, her 2013 solo show at the Lilypad in Cambridge, “gorgeous and creepy” and said Duennebier’s “technical mastery gives the artist what she needs to seduce the viewer; the content lowers the boom.” Duennebier's solo show at 13FOREST, The Great Season, ran from January through March 2014; an interview from that time written by gallery co-owner Jim Kiely can be found on our blog.
In my painting I want to create the 'inexplicably overwhelming'. The depiction of the growing mass is my best archetype for this experience. Through putrefaction or fecundity the complicated form of the mass adds to itself and spills forward. The mass operates intractably in the dark, grows beyond its recognizable origin to become grotesque. There is an uneasy combination of textural pleasure and disgust in this germination. While fine white hairs of mold are delicate and beautiful they are the mark of decay and cannot be treasured.
If this mass is dissected further it will reveal inward complications and the translucent vibrating lines of microscopic organisms. Tiny bright forms composed of colored striations undulate under the skin. They serve to keep the whole body living but their individual functions are concealed by ignorance of the mass' original anatomy.
The mass is most often shown with symmetry as a relic or altar. In the mind, all things of importance are pushed towards the center of view. Even if witnessed in the corner of the eye they are remembered with acute symmetry.