Sophisticated Living Indianapolis

JUL-AUG 2019

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I was already aware of artist Martina Nehrling before she rose to prominence both regionally and nationally. She and my wife attended North Central High School together, and their mothers were close. After the artist moved to Chicago, where she found considerable success, we fell somewhat out of touch until an opportunity arose recently to sit down in the Windy City and chat about her history, philosophy and latest works. What follows is an edited version of our conversation. JC: Were you interested in art while you were living in Indianapolis, and can you speak to your early inuences? MN: I was fortunate to be in a school system with a strong arts program. In addition to really wonderful and encouraging art teachers, my interest and talent was nurtured by an extra-curricular program in which I participated from elementary school through high school. My grandpa, Wally Nehrling, a popular morning radio personality on WIRE for very many years, was a wonderfully animated presence in my youth, and I credit him for inspiring an outgoing spirit in me. I was lucky to have an abundance of creativity in my family: my grandma wrote poetry, my uncle Daniel was an artist, my aunt Tina is an actress and playwright, and her son Rudy is a talented actor, too. I understand a sculpture of your design is on the campus of North Central High School. Tell us about that. ‚at was the result of a design competition I won when I was a sophomore. I loved high school and maybe with an unusual objectivity at my age, I wanted to allude to the signi„cance, yet brevity, of those years before we all would shoot o… in di…erent directions. Tell me more about what inspires you? How has that evolved? Color has always been central to my inspiration. To me, colors very nearly have a living presence with which I'm compelled to interact. ‚ough employing a full spectrum of saturated color as I often do can appear deceptively simple or easily pleasing, its formal complexity spurs my engagement. I enjoy mining its controversial decorativeness and navigating its mercurial emotiveness in visual rhythms, usually comprised of a multitude of distinct brushstrokes of color. In this way, I almost hear the imagery develop with a visual language. I experience a musicality in the visual. A SYMPHONY IN COLOR Written by Jerey Cohen An Interview with Artist Martina Nehrling Martina Nehrling 20

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