November 20th - January 30th, 2021

Nina Johnson Gallery, Miami, FL
Solo Exhibition: Poison Dart

When I had covid my sense of smell vanished, even canned tuna fish disappeared. My lungs were spared, but I had vivid dreams. A dragon crept its massive head through my open doorway, eyes glared; it was not a myth, it was an animal. I started drawing dragons and understood they related to time, power, the facing of fear.

The poison dart paintings have percolated in my mind for a few years, but I never felt right enough to make them. The name derives from a brightly colored frog with poisonous skin that could kill you if you touch it. I’ve explored subtle color and hidden images that feign invisibility over the past seven years. I’ve explored camouflage and studied the coloration methods of an octopus. I’ve been involved with trickery, as with deimatic color that appears to be something it is not, such as fake eyes on butterfly wings; in my case I’ve painted planes shifting and false edges. But aposematic color—vivid color that means what it signifies (danger, touch me = death)—I have not too much engaged. So the idea of these bright paintings sat by the wayside, waiting for me to become interested in paintings that can be forthright in their color, and unabashed in lifting sources from the biological world. Our dark times are kaleidoscopic.

A note on frogs: they take exceptionally deep breaths. Scientists have studied how they piston air into their lungs (hoping to learn to help humans who otherwise need ventilators). They also absorb oxygen through their moist skin and thereby breathe with their whole bodies. Frogs live in realms wet and dry, take big leaps, and are sonic in their communities, like paint, painting.

The poison dart has sapphire, gold and lazurite skin. Their toxins attack a predator’s nervous system and the electrical impulses in the heart. Scientists hope to discover a new painkiller with their poison.

Disease provides information. A vaccine is a trick, “A preparation of killed micro-organisms, living attenuated organisms, or living fully virulent organisms that is administered to produce or artificially increase immunity to a particular virus”; a healthy dose of deceit. Covid made me acknowledge I could never smell well... now I smell more than I ever have. Perhaps the poison dart paintings are little pieces of psychic venom, to infect, immunize. From what I don’t know.

Nathlie Provosty
20 October 2020

15 December 2020 – 15 February 2022

A Palazzo Gallery, Brescia, ITALY
Solo Exhibition: All Rainbows in a Brainstem 

Our dark times are kaleidoscopic.

What a beautiful spring it was in NYC, in terms of the air quality. With no one driving and few subway goers (aside from the essential workers), pollution plummeted. The sky was the bluest I’ve seen. The scent of sweet grass swayed through my studio window, which literally overlooks the Long Island Expressway, a major highway. At times the highway stood silent.

When the sirens rang, I could feel their redness. I had already become obsessed with red prior to Covid, but with the onset my inclination towards redness ebbed into orange. What was it about that saffron? It represents fire, and therefore purity, according to the Hindus & Buddhists, because impurities are burned in the fire. Release.

I burned a lot during that period. I burned sage (can you smell it?). I burned candles bought from the bodega. I burned up my pre-conceptions around what a painting is allowed to be, what parameters a drawing must exist within, where sources can come from… dream and vision became acceptable, inevitable.

Breathing, choking, squeezing, intertwined. We are so intertwined. Fear started dying around me like flies on their backs, wiggling their feet before finally letting go. A hardened, translucent snakeskin had encased me, and I slid right out. The calcified fear lay on the floor behind me, fragile keratin soon to disintegrate.

I feel I have innumerable eyelids; every so often a new set opens up, and WOW. What a surprise to see, AGAIN!

Time breathes on me and licks me with its orange tongue, its breath warm. The brush is a keratin tongue.

The dragons often have open mouths and tails tied. Choke holds of sorts.
Organ music is how it looks, which is how it sounds, which is how it feels. Organs playing, together. Warmth.

Colorful times we live within.

Nathlie Provosty
20 November 2020