Born in 1950 in Torrington, Connecticut, Nancy grew up in Massachusetts and went to college at the nearby Rhode Island School of Design. There, she learned the silkscreen printing process from Art Wood, while abandoning an illustration major in favor of the art education program. After graduating with a BFA in 1972, she taught art in elementary school for three years, while her husband, Bob, finished law school. Then, they moved to the D.C. area where Nancy began printing full-time and exhibiting work in galleries and museums. As her two kids got older, she began teaching at the Art League School in 1997.
Over the years, most of Nancy’s silkscreens have depicted man-made places like storefronts and porches, sometimes the more woebegone the better. She tries to persuade viewers to find beauty in the
ordinary, even in the shabby, especially when the light is right. Nancy states, “I want to celebrate the human, the marks people make on the world, treasure the local, the small-scale, the eccentric, the ordinary: whatever is made out of caring. A place that has known a lot of use begins to suggest stories of the people who’ve had their hand in making it. One can find an interplay between the original design of a place and how it’s been lived in and changed over time. If you happen to be looking through a window, there is another layering, as the scene behind you is superimposed upon what is inside. Reflections on old storefront windows make downtown walks fascinating. This super-imposed layering is well suited to the silkscreen printing process, using transparent layers of color to allow what’s underneath to show through, which is exactly how I like to print.”
Recently, Nancy’s focus has turned from man-made to natural subjects, in particular skies and birds. She says, “With these subjects, I don’t feel the need to persuade anyone of their inherent beauty, since it’s so plain to see. Yet, because the sky is always there, it can be easy to take for granted, just like anything else we see every day. Birds, too, are all around us, though many species are getting scarcer. In visits to the gulf side of Florida, I’ve seen magnificent herons, egrets, and other wading birds. The more magnificent the more endangered, it would seem, so once again I say ‘Take a good look, while you still can!” And yet, these birds may represent possibility and hope. In the 1800s, their feathers were in such demand for ladies’ hats that the plume trade almost entirely wiped out Florida’s population of wading birds. After laws were passed to protect them, these birds’ populations have gradually rebounded. Now, like the rest of us, they face new dangers due to climate change. Perhaps we can save them (and ourselves) again, if we make the effort.”
Nancy takes photographs for reference, then once in her studio, recreates the way the light hit, the air felt, in that particular moment. An edition begins with a full-sized master drawing, which is set under each screen as a guide for the hand-painted and hand-drawn stencils. She prints through the stencils, layer upon layer, sometimes 100 layers or more. A typical layer is made up of different transparent colors fading into each other. She prints all of her own editions. During the printing, images evolve as the process itself gives Nancy ideas beyond her initial vision.
The artwork pictured here is a representation of this artist's work. We aim to display only pieces that are currently in the gallery, though some may have been sold. If you are interested in purchasing a particular piece by this artist, please call the gallery at (302) 645-0551.