Sunday, August 10, 2014

"Reflections and Shadows" at Arden Gallery, Boston

NOTE: I am starting NEW ART IN THE STUDIO because I wanted to change the blog layout without affecting all the posts in the original Art in the Studio blog that I began in 2008. If you want to read some of those posts, here is the link.

Here I am at Arden Gallery with the somewhat distorted "Red Pair." I look like I just had a Hollywood facial, but I think it was the lighting. (iPhone photo by Greg Wright)

Reflections and Shadows at Arden Gallery, Boston, August 5 - 30

Arden Gallery is presenting a small solo show of my work during the month of August. Here are a few images of the installation and of the work in process in my studio.

Installation shot at Arden: Left are the Red Pair, Cugat on left and Montalban on right, each 24" x 24".
Painting on the right is Shimmer, 48" x 36". (The sculpture in the center is by Michelle Knox.)

About My Work 

First of all, about my work in general: I am drawn to making order out of chaos and that order usually takes a geometric form. I love juxtaposition, materiality, color, and the challenge of compositional problems.

A few years ago I began a series I called The Running Stitch because of the strong horizontal organization that reminded me of the way small stitches appear on a textile. Instead of sewing, I construct this work with elements that I cut from various found and prepared materials such as: books, record albums, packaging, treated metal, rubber, and paintings on cardstock that I prepare for the purpose or recycle from old works on paper. I attach the elements to wooden panels using tacks, hundreds of tacks. Yes, I had a grandfather who was a blacksmith. Did I inherit the blacksmith gene? I have my suspicions.

I began thinking of this series as a collection of memories, organized not consecutively or to relate a narrative, but rather as strokes of paint on a canvas. Memory jumps around sometimes and juxtaposes yesterday's movie with the crush you had on a movie star at age 12. I like surprises, weird combinations, hidden text, and lush color. My medium of choice, in addition to the elements, is encaustic paint, applied to the work in a liquid state and then fused to the panel with a heated tool called a shoe.

Shimmer in progress: decisions, decisions.

How I Work

When I think about making a new work, I usually think COLOR first. I have bags of elements stored in the studio by color and I have bins of old books also sorted by color. If and when I need more of a particular color, I make paintings using ink and encaustic gesso that I will cut up as needed.

A painting I made to be cut up and used in Shimmer

Making work for this show began right after I returned from the Encaustic Conference in June. Trying to catch up with everything and get back in the studio groove was a little tough but I managed.

A little surprise in Shimmer

Installation shot at Arden Gallery, Shimmer left and All Good Intentions, 2013, 30" x 30" at right.

Here is a professional photo of Shimmer that shows more detail.

Shimmer, 2014, 48" x 36". Photographed by John Polak Photography.

After a marathon session of hammering tacks on this piece, I bought a new lighter weight hammer. It's made a big difference to my arm and my stamina.

Old one inherited from my father on left and new, lightweight one on left -
on top of some paintings made for Shimmer.

Green Shade

Green Shade, 2014, 36" x 36"

This green one was the next piece I made. I always like to put in a secondary color, in this case turquoise, along with the main focus. There are also slices of copper in this that reflect the light.

A little air freshener guy waiting for some tacks and paint in Green Shade.

Here is Green Shade in the Arden installation on their lovely brown walls that seem to go with everything.
The three small pieces on the left were painted earlier this year.

The Red Pair, Cugat and Montalban

Bringing you full circle in my blog post and creative process, we arrive at the Red Pair, the last works I made for the Arden show.

Here you see Shimmer and Green Shade hanging on the wall in my studio and the two
gessoed panels that became the Red Pair in the foreground on the table.

Some of the elements laid out for these works. I was lucky to find two good Latin album covers
 in my stash - one by Xavier Cugat and the other by Ricardo Montalban. - lots of red.

The official portrait of Montalban and Cugat, each 24" x 24".

I am hopeful that I will resume regular posts again in this new blog. I usually take on a post as if it were a graded assignment, but maybe I can ease up on myself a bit and feel free to omit the essay and concentrate on the images. I hope you will be there with me!


  1. Love the work, your discussion of your proces, too, Nancy. AND your photography of the installation is impeccable. It really shows off your brpeautiful work. Congratulations on a successful showing of your paintings.

  2. Thanks for the behind the scenes tour! Much success with your current Arden show. Brava