Malin Gallery is pleased to announce representation of New York artist Barbara Nessim. Nessim’s decades-long career encompasses pioneering work in the fields of illustration, graphic design, fashion design, feminist art, and digital art.
Nessim, the daughter of a postal worker and fashion designer, enrolled in the Pratt Institute in 1956, when the prevailing artistic trend in the United States was Abstract Expressionism. She “began to get a sense of what [she] was about visually” during her senior year when she began to create small, figurative paintings with symbolic imagery based on episodes from her life. Nessim furtively painted these personal works during lunchtime or at night, when the studio space was empty, going so far as to immediately stash finished paintings in her locker to ensure they remained private. Around this time, she began creating daily stream of conscious drawings in sketchbooks, a practice she continues to this day.
In the 1960s, the American illustration field was in flux. Audiences attuned to counter-cultural political movements considered the realistic illustrative style of the 1940s and 1950s outdated and stale. Young art directors at new, highly competitive publications embraced anything innovative and fresh that would make them stand above the rest, creating an environment ripe for experimentation. Many young artists, Nessim included, created work for Playboy-inspired ‘girlie’ publications, which were often staffed by young art directors who allowed a great deal of artist freedom within their pages. Additionally, Nessim recalls “the fact that more women were becoming art directors made my life a lot easier.” Nessim’s magazine work continued through the 1970s and 1980s, including prominent features in New York Magazine, Ms., Harper’s Bazaar, Working Woman, Rolling Stone, TIME, and The New York Times Magazine.
Barbara Nessim (b. 1939, Bronx, NY) is a long-time New York resident whose lengthy career in illustration, graphic design, fashion design, feminist art, and digital art is characterized by relentless passion and avant-garde experimentation. Always aware of the world around her but remaining true to the visions in her mind, Nessim’s style is wholly and uniquely her own.
One of the first full-time professional women illustrators working in the United States during the 1960s, Nessim also broke barriers in the early 1980s when she became one of the first artists to experiment with computer-generated art.
Nessim’s artworks have been exhibited at numerous institutions in North America, Europe, and Asia, including the Louvre, The Whitney Museum, The Cooper Hewitt Museum, The Smithsonian Institute, and The Norman Rockwell Museum.
Her work has been published in New York Magazine, Ms., Harper’s Bazaar, Working Woman, Rolling Stone, TIME, and The New York Times Magazine.
The Victoria & Albert Museum in London exhibited a major retrospective of Nessim’s works, titled An Artful Life, in 2013.