“My latest series of paintings continues my exploration of the boundaries of realism in figurative painting,” says Erin Cone, who displays new figurative work in the show “Boundless” that opens at 5 p.m. on October 12 at Nuart Gallery.
Cone’s work is about visual impact rather than narrative content. She’s interested in walking a fine line between realism and abstraction and enjoys the push/pull energy she feels during the painting process.
She wants her work to feel real and unreal at the same time. She calls it “orchestrated realism.”
A Santa Fe-based painter who knew she wanted to be an artist ever since she was in kindergarten in Lubbock, Texas, Cone studied art for two years at Texas Tech University and graduated with a bachelor of fine arts degree from the University of Texas in 1998.
She thought she should have a “respectable” job during college and took a position in the art department at a book company while she was an undergraduate.
“That short stint in the corporate world was enough for me,” she explains. “Two weeks after I quit that job, I was invited to have my first show in a gallery in Austin.”
An oil painter in college, Cone switched to acrylics in 2001. She continued her passion for portraiture that began in school. While her extensive collection of figurative images contains photos of models, she is often the model for her own paintings.
“What I do now is digital sketching where I may photoshop different images of figures together,” she says. “It’s a great way for me to start working. This way, I can change things around in the computer until I find exactly what I’m going for.
“I liken the figure in a painting to a dancer on stage. It’s about one moment and the emotion of that moment.”