Nicole Gordon's dark and whimsical oil paintings find beauty in an often grim and depressing 'real world'

Unseen Power of the Picket Fence © Nicole Gordon. All images courtesy of the artist and gallery. Via CB submission

Chicago-based painter Nicole Gordon’s landscapes lean on the whimsical and somewhat grim, an expression of beauty met with the horrors of real-world change and transformation.

She describes her work as a "combination of fantasy with darker truths". And her use of bright colours and out-of-place objects create an imaginative view of reality.

Her latest series of oil paintings, Despite the Fantasy, is to go on show at Downtown Los Angeles’ Corey Helford Gallery from 2 November.

Of the works, Gordon tells us: "The ongoing battle between time, nature and civilisation is a fascinating one to observe if you put yourself on the sidelines. This series depicts the awkward beauty of our continually evolving landscape and a curiosity for how those who inherit the ruins will persevere. In the development of this theme, I have purposefully allowed the internal logic to build on itself, even if flawed or nonsensical. Certain elements subconsciously emerge and repeat due to this free form methodology."

She adds: "As in my past work, the narratives function as dreamscapes, juxtaposing actual and metaphorical, and the observed with the imagined. The paintings weave together elements of childlike innocence with darker undertones, a dynamic that echoes the makeup of human existence.

"The heightened colours and out-of-place objects create absurd and sometimes disturbing stage-like scenes that cannot possibly exist in nature and become an alternate reality. The landscapes reference fairy tale settings in which complex and often disturbing narratives are revealed within a context of dreamlike prettiness. The disturbance to the serenity animates the setting and breathes new life into the space, highlighting the tension between the artificial and the real."

Despite the Fantasy opens on 2 November at Corey Helford Gallery in Los Angeles.

Love with an Asterisk © Nicole Gordon

Love with an Asterisk © Nicole Gordon

Half Hours on Earth © Nicole Gordon

Half Hours on Earth © Nicole Gordon

I Go Where I’m Led © Nicole Gordon

I Go Where I’m Led © Nicole Gordon

Perfect Distance from the Sun © Nicole Gordon

Perfect Distance from the Sun © Nicole Gordon