Margaret Nielsen’s paintings and drawings fill the walls at Bergamot Station’s Samuel Freeman Gallery – a venue with somewhat of a new name, but with nearly seamless ties to the LA art scene and the gallery’s previous owner and namesake, Patricia Faure – who was a fixture in the LA art world since 1972. More like a museum retrospective than a gallery exhibition, the show includes work from as far back as 1972, the year Nielsen received her BFA from CalArts, and spans all the way up to the present time. I remember loving some of these paintings when I saw them the first time around.
Her work has a consistently quirky feel: a sort of feminine Twin-Peaks-era-David-Lynch-like sensibility that fuses an awe for nature and human experience with a sense of foreboding and mystery. While the earliest work on display is simply rendered with pen and ink, her work of the last 20 years often employs a bright, highly saturated, jewel-toned palette, the overall effect of which is to fill up the senses in a manner not unlike, well… a night in the forest.