Laurie Nye: It Wasn’t a Dream, It Was a Flood

21 August - 25 September 2021

Philip Martin Gallery is proud to present, "It Wasn’t a Dream, It Was a Flood," an exhibition of new oil-on-linen paintings by Laurie Nye. Painted in Los Angeles and Tennessee - the state in which Nye grew up - the works in Laurie Nye's show present landscape, both real and imagined, as a place in which to encounter the spiritual possibilities of nature.

The titles of the works in "It Wasn’t a Dream It Was a Flood" point to a range of real and mythic places. "Horus Forest" suggests the Egyptian sun god; "Greer's Ferry" is a lake in Heber Springs, Arkansas. "I use my intuitive process and combine it with memory and ideas about nature and landscape," Nye writes. "I grew up camping and fishing in the Ozarks in Arkansas. My father instilled in me a reverence of stillness and oneness with the water. It wasn’t boring to sit in a boat for hours, learning to cast a line and catching only guppies or twigs. It was everything else that mattered. The sounds of the birds, the animals all around, the mysterious dark of the water and how it sounded when we floated along with the motor off.”

In her work, Nye encourages the viewer's sense of landscape, not only in terms of specific locales, but also in terms what these locales mean with regard to personal expression and freedom. "I love the idea of fictional places, fabled places, memories and experiences of real places all mixed together in a non-linear way - playing with the notion of what landscape painting could be or should be.” Nye's painting, "Lemuria Tree," references the writings of English zoologist Philip Sclater (1829-1913), who describes "Lemuria," a fabled continent or "lost land" that disappeared beneath the Indian Ocean; "It Wasn’t a Dream It Was a Flood," takes its title from the poetry of Frank Stanford (1948-1978), a "swamprat Rimbaud,” who activated Southern Gothic landscape as a place of impulsive desire.

Nye's vivid brushwork, succinct color, and sophisticated use of line breaks up the picture plane, emphasizing its materiality, flatness, and the construction of painterly space. Color in her work is a symbolic way of communicating. Trees, gardens, rivers and birds weave together in her compositions; blocks of color push a sense of emotional space. Nye writes, “The motifs and ideas that I continue to be drawn to always return me to a visionary space. I depict places and things the way I’d like to see them."

Laurie Nye (b. 1972, Memphis, TN) received her BFA from Memphis College of Art (Memphis, TN), and her MFA from California Institute of the Arts (Valencia, CA). Nye’s work has recently been the subject of solo and group exhibitions at Louise Alexander Gallery (Porto Cervo, Italy); The Pit (Glendale, CA); Odd Ark (Los Angeles, CA); Big Pictures LA (Los Angeles) Blake and Vargas, (Berlin, Germany); The Dot Project, (London, UK); Day and Night Gallery (Atlanta, GA); La Loma Projects, (Pasadena, CA); and Unpaved Gallery (Yucca Valley, CA). Her work has been reviewed in such publications as Artillery, Los Angeles Times, Artforum, FAD Magazine and LA Weekly. Nye lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.


Laurie Nye’s exhibition of new oil-on-linen paintings is on view at the gallery August 21 through September 25, 2021.


Philip Martin Gallery is open Tuesday - Saturday from 10-4 and by appointment. Pre-scheduled appointments are available, and walk-ins are welcome. To make an appointment, or to get additional images, or information please email, or call 310-559-0100. Philip Martin Gallery is located at 2712 S. La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90034 in the Culver City area of Los Angeles between Venice Blvd. and Washington Blvd., just south of the 10 Freeway.