Artist Dan Nearing is an enigma, to be sure. While many painters front into their careers in the grandiose world of art, attending the finest design schools and dreaming of seeing their installation at the Venice Biennale, Nearing doesn’t fit so neatly into a box… and he likes it just that way. Rather than being groomed for a life in art, he seemed to fall into the life-long process of creation more naturally. Perhaps because of this, Nearing comes to painting with a relaxed sensibility, and that plays out well in his work. Whether an abstract 16 inch canvas of a dog, or a massive, 36 foot mural, his work gives off a sense of optimism and happiness. Born, raised and educated in Michigan, Nearing has spent decades as art director and creative director for marketing and advertising firms, some small and independent, some major and more prestigious. It’s quite possible these experiences have influenced his work or style.
Nearing’s work today is bright, bold, graphic and incorporates the blending of color only where needed. This makes for one-of-a-kind oil paintings that are never somber and almost universally uplifting. His subject matter, depicted in idiosyncratic Nearing style, becomes his own. So while his paintings of candy – one of his favorite subjects – evoke Pop Art and are indeed a knowing nod to that era, they are purposefully as far away from Lichtenstein or Warhol as one could get. These are Nearing’s depictions, and his alone. Since leaving Boston for Michigan in 2012, the painter’s output has proliferated. Favorite subjects are the previously mentioned candy, but Nearing is fascinated with painting dogs and cows as well.