Nicole Werth Designs
I am a Lynn-based artist who works mainly in acrylic and watercolor. Most of my work incorporates a natural theme with a manufactured element. I enjoy viewing nature and exploring how it is changed, supported, or damaged through its relationship with the manufactured world. I attended Grinnell College where I majored in Anthropology. Although I have been drawn to art since I was first able to hold a paintbrush, it was not until 2009 when I started Nicole Werth Designs, beginning my career as a professional artist.
Most of my paintings begin by fully immersing myself in a subject through print and, where possible, out in the world. I thank my background in Anthropology for this obsession with research. For my largest collection to date, I traveled the length of the Connecticut River from its start at the Canadian border to the mouth in Long Island Sound. Through this travel I documented the plants and animals that occupy the river’s watershed, as well as the impact of non-native and invasive species on the ecosystem.
My recent work has stemmed from researching museum collections. The Harvard Museum of Natural History has provided endless hours of inspiration and these new works are my interpretation of the actual museum specimens and displays. The spotlights highlighting the carefully preserved subjects create dramatic shadows and the juxtaposition of colors and textures form beautiful tableaux. I focus on birds not only because I am an avid birder, but also to reference the tradition of avian art. Dutch masters painted hunting trophies, beautifully rendered still-lifes expressing their sponsors’ wealth and status. Scientific illustrations and taxidermy studies were used to highlight exotic lands and to expand our knowledge of biology. In the late 1800’s Victorians presented each other with Christmas cards with renderings of little dead birds as a wish of good luck in the coming year. This series also speaks to my passion for protecting the environment. Although historically birds that were part of a museum collection were trapped for that purpose or donated by collectors, many that find their way into the collections now are already dead when they are discovered. Animals that have succumbed to pollution fill shelves alongside specimens that have died from crashing into glass windows on buildings or being struck by cars. They provide information on the health of the environment and a warning of the consequences of manmade disasters such as chemical runoff and plastic pollution