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Biography

Nadja Gabriela Plein is a Swiss-born, London-based painter. She makes abstract paintings characterised by a playful inventiveness and an intense attention to movement. She is a graduate of the Turps Banana Studio Painting Programme.

Nadja’s paintings, drawings and prints are featured regularly in exhibitions in the UK and internationally. She was shortlisted for the Jackson’s Art Open Painting Prize in 2018, and was a prize winner at the Print Hub Open, London, in 2015.

Exhibitions include: Solo Show: 'Flux'. The Stables in Exile, London; Group Shows: Hampstead Affordable Art Fair, Jackson's Art Open Painting Prize; 'Hemma Stammer'. Level 4, Rødbergveien 23, 0591 Oslo, Norway; 'No Place'. Bearspace and ROSL Arts, Over-Seas House, Park Place, St James's Street, London; 'Turps 2015-17'. Art Bermondsey Project Space, London; 'Conducting the Surface'. Bearspace, Deptford, London; Battersea Spring Affordable Art Fair, with Bearspace, Battersea Park, London;'The ING Discerning Eye 2016'. Mall Galleries, London; Print Hub Open, London; 'Teknesyn'. Abbey Palace Museum. Alcala La Real, Spain; 'From Here & There. Drawings from the UK'. Elysium Gallery, Swansea; 'From Here & There. Drawings from Colorado and Wales'. Clara Hatton Gallery, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO. USA. ‘Drawing 2012’ and ‘Drawing ‘13’ at Swiss Art Space in Lausanne, Switzerland. Her work is featured in Helen Birch's ‘Just add Watercolour’, published by RotoVision.

Before moving into painting Nadja was a composer. She gained a doctorate from the Royal College of Music, won the prestigious Mendelssohn Scholarship, her music has been performed in the UK, Germany, France, Switzerland and the USA by leading performers, including the Arditti String Quartet, and was heard on BBC Radio 3 as well as USA radio stations.

 

Artist Statement

Painting, for me, is an act of living the physicality of the material and so also living the physicality of my own body as it is right now. The thinness and thickness of the paint, the watery dripping and the dryness like sand – grating, the pigments translucent, opaque covering, flowing lines, rhythmic movement, the fabric, the wood, the heaviness of the object. Painterly mark-making draws attention to the material, always referring back to itself: it is not about something else, it is about this material, this physicality: these stains, these splatters, this attentive line, this scribble, this thick bit caked-up, this scratched bit… this material, right now, as it is right here, placed and assembled by a body, a hand, dry from too much contact with turps, skin cracking, paint encrusted, dirty fingernails, this arm, sore in the shoulder, the rhythm of the heart, my breath, this back tense, tummy, flabby bits, legs, feet, head hairs, body hairs, bones, teeth, flesh, sinew, blood.

From music, I have taken the playfulness of improvisation, responding, like a young child in the moment, responding to the physicality of the here and now: play with this texture flaking – play with this line slipping – play at wiping, smearing. Play is coupled with the attentiveness of meditation, the silence, the patient waiting, the kind attention: watching that green run down the fabric – like watching one’s child – nothing else exists in the world right now but this green paint running.