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Nel Ivancich

Nel Ivancich was born in Salt Lake City in 1941. She is a painter of color field abstractions. She lives in southern California.

Don Olsen, a foremost nonpresentational Utah painter, was her instructor at Jordan High School. She studied at Chouinard Institute of Art in Los Angeles from 1959 until 1960. She earned her BFA in 1985, and her MFA in 1987 from the University of Utah.

Examples of work include Placido (1986), East of the Sun (2004), and Gambol (2004).

Biography adapted from information supplied by the artist.

Nel Ivancich was born June 11, 1941 in Salt Lake City, Utah. She received her Bachelor (Cum Laude) and Master of Fine Arts degrees from the University of Utah. Ms. Ivancich served as an associate instructor for the University of Utah Department of Art and Department of Continuing Education from 1988 to 1995, teaching classes in Basic Design, Basic Drawing, and in Color Theory. She also served as an instructor of Basic Design at the Salt Lake School of Interior Design from 1985 to 1987. Since 2003, Nel has been one of ten founding members of Connecting-Art, a fledgling international art group and was a member of the Visual Arts Advisory Panel of the Utah Arts Council from 1989 to 1991.

Honors and Exhibitions Include

  • Utah Arts Council, Invited USA Artist at the 2003 Florence Biennale, Florence, Italy.
  • Purchase and/or Travel Awards: S.L.C. Art Center; Utah Museum of Fine Arts.
  • Recent exhibition at the Phillips Gallery (two person).
  • Don O'Melveny Gallery, W. Hollywood (three person).
  • The 2003 Florence Biennale, Florence, Italy.

Private and corporate collections of Nel Ivancich's works are found in Utah, California, Arizona, Texas, New York, Kentucky, and Washington D.C. Her pieces are in the permanent collections of several Utah museums and art institutions such as The Utah Museum of Fine Art.

Artist's Statement 
I was raised in a family which placed artistic expression above most other pursuits. My older sister, “K.C“ Deneris, now deceased, inspired me from childhood onward by her example as a motivated and gifted portrait artist. Following in her shoes, I took art classes from Don Olsen at Jordan High School in Sandy, Utah, and appreciated his enthusiasm for art and his ability to encourage confidence in his students. An aunt, Lucille Patrick Notti, was another influential person in my life. She was a working mother with three sons, yet she always managed to paint. Although she was modest about her achievements, her hallmark was her easy facility for creating impressive paintings in all media, plus her stylistic diversity in wardrobe and overall appearance. During my teen years I enjoyed visiting her apartment on Main Street in downtown Salt Lake City. The smell of oil paint permeated the rooms, and her paintings were on easels or leaning against walls throughout her modest space. Sometimes she'd offer me a glass of wine while we talked about her work and other interests. During her earlier years, she lived for brief intervals in San Francisco where she found inspiration and instruction for her creations in paint or cloth. I appreciated a quality of poetry in her paintings and her willingness, even in the '50's, to explore new artistic styles including abstract expressionism. Though now deceased she was, and remains, a role model.

After graduating from high school in 1959, I moved to Los Angeles and took art classes at Chouinard Art Institute. To support myself, I worked as an interior decorator for a design firm on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. My work enlarged my education in that I purchased art for our firm's commercial installations and, also, coordinated interior colors. After marrying and raising a son, Eric, and daughter, Sloane, in San Pedro and Rancho Palos Verdes, California, and attending Harbor College there, our family moved to Salt Lake City and I acquired my Bachelor and Master of Fine Art degrees from the University of Utah. Professors Tony Smith, Sam Wilson, Bob Kleinschmidt and Doug Snow provided a quality mix of instruction, humor and example during a particularly energetic time in the Art Department, when Dr. Robert “Bob“ Olpin presided as Dean. Friends, like Cathy Pardike, Lee Deffebach, Susan Slade and Carolyn Coalson, shared my enthusiasm for abstract art and artists and, even though three of us have since left Utah, we maintain contact and friendship. After working as an Associate Instructor in the University of Utah Art Department for eight years, my husband and I returned to southern California and I settled in Pinyon Crest, a remote mountain community above Palm Desert. I find inspiration for my art in this high desert sanctuary surrounded by pinion trees, cacti, sage and magnificent mounds of granite boulders. Sometimes when I'm painting outdoors, I can hear and feel the movement as the ravens fly overhead. It doesn't get much better than that.

For more information on the artist contact:

Biography courtesy the artist.


Dunbier, Lonnie Pierson, ed. The Artists Bluebook : 29,000 North American Artists. Scottsdale, AZ: 2003.

Ivancich, Nel. "A Ritual in Time" Thesis/dissertation, 1988.

Olpin, Robert S., William C. Seifrit, and Vern G. Swanson. Artists of Utah. Salt Lake City: Gibbs Smith Publisher, 1999.

 Last Modified 6/20/18