Shawn Nelson Dahlstrom’s work reflects Cape Cod’s distinctive traditions of both representational and abstract art inspired by nature. Importantly, in her unique approach to depicting and celebrating the natural world, Shawn Nelson Dahlstrom not only embraces, but also moves beyond, her artistic heritage.
Shawn Nelson Dahlstrom’s paintings are clearly representational, yet the canvas plays an additional role as a stage for the interaction of color, shape, and positive and negative space. In representing nature, while at the same time drawing our attention to the formal elements that structure our perception of it, Shawn Nelson Dahlstrom’s paintings are influenced by such earlier painters and teachers as Sam Feinstein (1915-2003), Hans Hofmann (1880-1966), and Wolf Kahn (b. 1927), all of whom, like Shawn Nelson Dahlstrom, drew inspiration from the natural beauty of the Cape.
As described by Patricia Stark Feinstein, the curator for CCMA’s landmark 2008 retrospective on Sam Feinstein, “Shawn Nelson Dahlstrom’s radiant landscape paintings offer a rich experience for the viewer. Dramatic contrasts of dark and light open into subtle shifts of glowing color to create imagery that is both real and surreal. Silky swirls in a sky form one of many rhythmic patterns as fluid brushwork enhances the painting’s surface.” In addition to her work with CCMA, Patricia Stark Feinstein is an independent curator, painter, and teacher of art and art history; she taught fo