Nathan Florence is a Utah native who studied art at Swarthmore College in Philadelphia and at the International School of Art in Todi, Italy. He spent time living in Philadelphia and in Europe before returning to Utah. He lives in the Ninth and Ninth area of Salt Lake with his wife and two children and chairs the art department at the Waterford School in Sandy.
Florence describes his work as “narrative/figurative” and it is often autobiographical or based around an idea or issue that he is concerned with at the time. The texture and color preparation of the surfaces he paints on play an important role in his paintings as well. For many years he prepared the surfaces of his canvases by doing richly colored abstract paintings with obvious texture of brushwork, palette knife or other tools used to spread the paint. Onto this surface he would then paint his composition in various degrees of opacity which selectively reveals the color and texture underneath.
The subjects of Florence’s paintings vary widely from his small landscape paintings, which are painted on location, to his large figurative compositions which are painted in his studio. The large paintings are explorations of different ideas he is wrestling with at the time and/or personal experiences. For example “Let us go to and build us a tower” uses the Biblical reference of the tower of Babel (the title quotes from Genesis 11) and traditions of portraying this story from art history such as Pieter Breughel the Elder’s The Tower of Babel to address the contemporary issues of consumption and greed by constructing the tower completely out of luxury SUVs.
Nathan Florence’s portfolio can be seen at www.nflorencefineart.com, and locally at David Ericson Gallery downtown and Evergreen Gallery in Millcreek. Studio visits and commissions can be arranged by calling 801.503.4625.