Emerging Artists | Nyle Gordon

Putting an ‘aha’ moment to work

Nyle Gordon, Cedarburg Lilies, oil, 12 x 16.

Nyle Gordon, Cedarburg Lilies, oil, 12 x 16.

This story was featured in the December 2016 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art  December 2016 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

Painter Nyle Gordon hesitates to peg his style, and it’s easy to see why. Although strong color harmonies and generous dabs of texture make regular appearances in his paintings, his diversified oeuvre ranges from subtle abstraction to more realistic representations. “I’ve been accused of being an impressionist,” Gordon offers, but then adds, “We have the privilege of being influenced by all the artists who came before us.”

Gordon earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in drawing and painting from the University of Central Missouri. In 1994 he joined the staff at Hallmark Cards’ headquarters in Kansas City, MO, where he stayed for 10 years, contributing to the creative and graphics departments. Working among “world-class calligraphers” and other accomplished artists was inspiring, he says, and he also cherishes the training he received. “You’re applying color theory every day,” he says, “pushing the limits of what printers can do.”

After Gordon resigned in 2004 to pursue a career in painting, he worked mainly in his studio. He changed gears about five years ago, though, after attending a plein-air event in Augusta, MO. “Just getting outside and having the plein-air experience was an ‘aha’ moment,” he says. “It really focused me. It has an honest quality to it—an inherent integrity.”

Today Gordon lives with his wife in Ethel, MO, near the family farm where he was raised. He tries to split his time evenly between studio and plein-air painting because, he says, each informs the other. “You learn so much by painting outside,” he adds, “but in the studio, you develop and take a work to a different level that you just couldn’t do in the field.”

Among a host of awards he’s received this year, Gordon took first place in the Oil Painters of America Summer Online Showcase for BREAK TIME AT CAFÉ DU MONDE. The piece projects a plein-air liveliness, but in fact, Gordon painted it in his studio from a photograph he took while painting in New Orleans. Asked if he was surprised to win, Gordon responds with a chuckle. His wife, who helps manage the business side of his career, entered the painting in the show, he says. “She’s my employee of the month every month,” he laughs. “She’s the reason I can do this.” —Kim Agricola

representation
Eva Reynolds Fine Arts, Leawood, KS; Gallery 104, Kirksville, MO.

This story was featured in the December 2016 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art  December 2016 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

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