Bruce Nellsmith

The artist says, “Picasso once stated that he did not trust pure abstraction to shoulder the burden of meaning.    I don't necessarily agree, yet even when my paintings ebb towards pure abstraction, elements such as the hull of cargo ships, the water, the sky, buildings, containers, bridges, or scaffolding are never wholly sacrificed; abstracted, but still very intelligible. Those elements of nature, or life as I find them, act as the essential impetus or natural force driving the work in its initial stages. I start with nature (a cityscape, a port, or even the memory of a place that I have visited) and then adjust or sometimes almost destroy that objective image in order to resurrect an essentially abstract vocabulary of line, color, and shape capable of carrying the more subjective feelings that I attach to a place or a memory. 

“In regard to refinement, I will consciously avoid movements that seem too polished for fear that the work may appear static. When painting, I find that I cannot accept a movement in the composition that does not contain a certain raw or edgy quality about it. It is this that gives the work a furtive or shifty quality that keeps me engaged.  This working and re-working process gives the paintings an inner life, their own independent histories; they live and I live; it’s a symbiotic relationship. Simply put, my message depends upon the manipulation of paint and the responses that process invoke in me. I find my way into a painting and, as De Kooning put it – ‘I then have to paint my way back out’, even though I feel as if I am never fully released.     

The time I spend in France each year has an undeniable impact on my work. While there, I often produce 35-40 drawings, watercolors, and gouache paintings.  I like to simply plop down on the street in Paris, pull my watercolor kit from my bag, and go to work whenever the scene peaks my interest (needless to say, it’s difficult to travel with me).   These ‘sketches’, I bring back to my studio on Edisto Beach as resources for much larger works in oil.  Once in the studio, the sketches are often abstracted in order to express my memories or feelings for a particular place. No matter where I find myself, I am never without the ability to make a sketch or a color study - it’s the way I interact with the world.” 

Nellsmith received his BFA from the University of Georgia and his MFA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is currently the Visual Arts Program Coordinator and Professor of Art at Newberry College. He has received regional and national recognition in painting and drawing competitions. His work is included in many private, state, and public collections throughout the United States, including Canada and Europe. Bruce maintains studios on Edisto Beach, SC and in Newberry, SC.

Please click any of the images below for a  larger view


Blue Church in the Bend

 18x20   acrylic on panel  $850

 Terrace, Quillan

 12x8 image  18x14 framed

hand pulled monotype $250

Artist’s Wife, Parisian Terrace

    24x24  acrylic on canvas $1200


Market by the Mediterranean

     30x40 image  31.5x41.5 framed

              oil on canvas  $2600  

   Women at Market II

 60x48 image  61.5x49.5 framed

      acrylic on canvas  $5500

         The Paris Wedding

24x30 image  25.5x31.5 framed

     acrylic on canvas  $1540


Winery on the Mediterranean

22x22 image  23.5x23.5 framed

         oil on canvas  $1050

Quillan Clock Tower

48x24 image  49.5x25.5 framed
oil on canvas  $2200

Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel
and the Louvre

            13x15 image  14.5x16.5 framed
  oil on panel  $475


  Fabric Market

24x30 image  25.5x31.5 framed

     acrylic on canvas  SOLD

 Street in Collioure

   24x24  acrylic on canvas $1100

Coffee at Market

22x28 image   23.5x29.5 framed

         oil on canvas  $1540



Collioure Market

    24x24  acrylic on canvas  $1200


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