Among the many art openings tomorrow during First Fridays on Broad is Humming Velvet, an exhibition of collaborative paintings created by Nathan Durfee and Megan Aline. And when they say collaborative, they mean it — the two share a canvas, with Aline painting the landscape and Durfee filling it in with his signature cartoon-ish figures.
The pair originally started working together just for fun. “Nathan was inspired by one of my paintings that was sitting on the floor of the gallery,” Aline says. “I was telling him that it was missing something, and as we talked an idea sparked that maybe he could paint something into it. The finished result was amazing, so we planned a show.” Now they’re going on their third with Humming Velvet.
The paintings work, the artists say, because they highlight both artists’ strengths: Aline’s atmospheres and Durfee’s storytelling. For this series, Aline painted her landscapes first, keeping in mind an idea of where Durfee’s characters might fit. “I usually create something first, and then make suggestions of what I was thinking with leaving a certain area empty,” she says. “For me, it’s relinquishing control and thinking about an unknown narrative. I need to plan for something to live in my painting, but don’t know who or what it is.”
This leaves Durfee with the challenging, but interesting task of figuring out what story fits into each setting, which is the opposite of how he usually paints. “For my process, each painting is a puzzle, where I create a narrative and then create a composition around it,” he says. “When I work with Megan the process is reversed.”
What’s especially cool about these paintings is that Durfee’s characters, many of whom appear repeatedly in the artist’s works, fit in seamlessly despite the difference in Durfee and Aline’s styles.
For this show, guests will be able to see solo works by both painters, with their collaborative art hung in the middle of the gallery. The opening reception is tomorrow, Dec. 6 from 5-8 p.m. and the show will hang through Dec. 20.