Nikki Rossignol has kept journals since childhood and she uses her dream journals, in particular, to create stories that inspire her artwork. She writes down her dreams and then keeps writing, using them as a seed for more elaborate tales. “My journal is a book of lies,” she says. These narratives allow her to create new works without doing preliminary sketches because she knows the story within the painting.
In her exhibition, Dual Nature, she seeks to “find acceptance of nature’s life and death cycle.” It’s no surprise that the series features the co-mingling of nature and a lithe blonde woman since Rossignol is lithe and blonde and lives on her family’s 800-acre tract of timbered land near Missoula. She spends much of her time in those woods experiencing the sights, smells and sounds of the natural world.
Many of the series’ paintings show nature taking over. Tree roots wrap around a female body, shocks of wheat spring forth from her chest and legs, a fox pelt covers her, replacing her skin. It all seems kind of macabre, except that her color palettes are often imbued with sun and moonlight, making the paintings less menacing and more peaceful.
Living where she does—away from people and cars, and working from home (doing freelance artwork for films and sewing fluffy, slightly disconcerting stuffed creatures), listening to Judas Priest or The Darkness as she vacuums—allows Rossignol to live the artist’s life. She sometimes paints for 10 hours per day. In living and working this way, she’s managed to nearly become one of her works. She says, “I get so close to nature that you get stuck in it.”