Sunday, January 16, 2011

Art Rockin' Into the New Year

Things are rockin' over here at Natale World with plenty of art happenings. But first, a little real rock: having just finished the Keith Richards autobiography, Life, I'm in a rock 'n' roll mode. Note: If you'd like a soundtrack for this post, click here for a roots 'n' reggae playlist by Keith Richards brought to you by Rolling Stone magazine. You can read and listen if you open up another browser window.)

Keith Richards in performance

I read the Richards bio out of curiosity, not because I'm really a fan. Way back when, you were either for the Stones or the Beatles, and I opted for the Beatles, so I didn't know much about him other than his dissipated and disreputable look. His bio got raves all over (described by Amazon as a "raspy, rambling, raucous detail ...of the artist in situ"), so of course I went for it, being the cultural maven I am. My take: interesting but too long and probably too much detail unless you're a musician and/or devotee. And even though I never bought a Stones record (or tape or CD), I could hear in my mind just about every song Richards mentioned just from having lived through the peak of their fame.

Richards is one of the lucky ones who lived to tell the tale of high life and hard living with addiction to heroin, booze, weed, pills and all the rest. He kicked the heroin habit some years back but continued drinking,  smoking and making music: "Music was a far bigger drug than smack. I could kick smack; I couldn't quit music. One note leads to another, and you never know what's going to come next, and you don't want to. It's like walking on a beautiful tightrope."

The Art Tightrope 
Some good art news came this week - a big career milestone that I'll announce soon. No, the Whitney has not offered me the retrospective I deserve, but it must be just around the corner.

And things are looking up in the teaching area, as my father always dreamed for me. My teaching contract for the two-class session in encaustic for the Smith College course in Historic Methods and Materials arrived today (that will be in February). The post-conference workshop I'm teaching at the Encaustic Conference filled up so quickly that I was asked to do a second day of Making Fine Art with Unconventional Mixed Media and Encaustic.  Now that has also been booked with enough students to make it a go (a few spaces are left if you get on it soon - click here to see the info. And by the way, you don't have to sign up for the conference to take this class. You can just sign up for the workshop on June 9th. See here for the Castle Hill registration link.)

Boys of Liberty, deconstructed book with encaustic, rubber and tacks on panel, 2009

This week the prestigious Surface Design Journal published an article by Joanne Mattera titled "Affinities: Fiber and Wax." I was very pleased to be included with the nine contemporary artists featured in this piece, which began with references to the fiber/wax connections of Jasper Johns and Louise Bourgeois - pretty exalted company to be in! Joanne wrote about "textile sensibility in wax or the integration of fiber and wax in ways that transcend conventional boundaries of textile thinking." The image above of Boys of Liberty was included with the comment: "The geometric patterns she creates are evocative of Ghanaian kente cloth, Navajo wedge weave and Amish quilts. Natale, who graduated from art school with a degree in painting, created what she calls 'an unofficial minor in surface design' but looking at her work, would it surprise you to know that she is the granddaughter of a blacksmith?"

The Surface Design article is not available online, but I believe that Joanne Mattera will post it on her blog or website and I'll let you know when you can read the whole of her interesting observations on the topic.

And for more shameless self-promotion - I've also been asked to be one of four featured artists in the first issue of Encaustic Arts magazine to be published by the Encaustic Art Institute this spring. This magazine should arrive around the same time that 100 Artists of New England is published, in which I am also included.

Ever notice that when it rains it pours? (in a good way)


Karen Jacobs said...

WOW! That's a LOT of good stuff, Nancy! WOW!

lisa said...

Congrats! Great News!

CMC said...

WAY to go, girl. Congratulations. You deserve it.

Anonymous said...

You go, you go, you go!
You are such a terrific artist, hard worker and damn good blogger. As you know, I'm thrilled for you Nancy.

Wendy Rodrigue Magnus said...

I so regret that I can't be there to monitor your encaustic class. They're a lucky group of students, to be sure.

And hey - thank you for saving me the time of reading Richards' autobiography. I'll try to repay the favor in reporting on Graham-Dixon's Caravaggio. After four hundred years, he's the artist of the day according to Art News. Go figure.

In the meantime, for more tightrope walking, you might check out Colum McCann's Let the Great World Spin.

This is such a wonderful, balanced, and well-deserved string of accomplishments --- Congratulations Nancy!