Saturday, May 11, 2013

Career Milestones and Reflections of the Past

This week a lovely review of my January solo show at Arden Gallery was published in the May issue of ART NEWS (pg. 106). The reviewer, a very perceptive critic and excellent writer, was Joanne Silver. Mentioning several works, she really picked up on the nuances in individual pieces and the overall viewpoint of my show, "The Resonance of Time."

"Right Vocabulary," 2012, 24" x 24", mixed media with tacks and encaustic.
This piece appeared with the review in ART NEWS.

Here is a scan of the review that I think you will be able to read if you click to expand the image.

The ART NEWS review written by Joanne Silver, published in the May 2013 issue.

Seeing a review of my work in a publication with the status and distribution of ART NEWS was really a thrill. When I first learned that the reviewer was Joanne Silver, I immediately recognized her name. Joanne had written about my work years and years ago, but I couldn't remember the exact details of when it was and what she had written about.

Prior to writing a thank-you note to her, I looked through my file of old clippings and reviews to see if I could find anything. There it was--The Boston Herald, Friday, August 27, 1993--twenty years ago! She had written a very nice piece about a show I had called "Evocative Objects: Constructed Paintings" at the Children's Museum in Boston. Most of the pieces in the show incorporated objects I had purchased from the Recycle Shop at the museum. That was such a great place for artists to shop and get cheap materials. The shop sold donations from manufacturers of waste materials, discontinued items, scraps, buttons, dice, plastic chips and who knows what.. You could fill up a big paper bag for $3 or $4 and then figure out how to use it when you got to your studio.

Here is the 1993 review written by Joanne Silver from The Boston Herald:

One item I remember in particular from the Recycle Shop, that I used all the time in my work, was Nerf Javelin handles made from extruded black foam rubber. I loved that stuff and used it in so many ways.

"Cauldron" from 1994 or 1995, about 18"x 12", made from Nerf Javelin handles, a found
catalytic converter, other things, and, of course, tacks

Detail of "Cauldron"

The piece shown here was a bit more sophisticated than the work I exhibited at the Children's Museum, but the basic look was there--tribal, handmade, dark, hermetic. And this is the work that I looked back on before I started my Running Stitch series (what I showed at Arden Gallery that Joanne Silver reviewed in ART NEWS). At least 15 years had intervened between the two bodies of work, but when I started using recycled and found objects again (and, of course, tacks), I really felt that I had come home to my true self.

It does give me a kind of Twilight Zone-ish feeling when I think of those 15 years that I was spinning my wheels making all kinds of paintings, mosaics, collages, sculptures and various styles and genres of art. Of course, nothing is ever wasted when it comes to making art. It all goes into the maw and comes out somehow, maybe years later, but it's in there, percolating.

Surprisingly, Joanne Silver wrote back to me to say that she did remember my work from the Children's Museum and had wanted to see what I was doing now. That totally unexpected response shows that art critics, at least the good ones, have long memories and may recall work they have seen and artists' names over long periods of time.

Refreshing my memory of the Children's Museum show through this review was like coming face to face with  the self I was then through the work I was then making. Imagining at the time that I would have reached the career milestones of representation by a Newbury Street gallery and a review in a national art publication, was way beyond anything I could envision. Maybe I should go through my old files and see what else I can discover about myself by seeing who I used to be and what I used to make.


Jane Housham said...

Terrific, thoughtful reviews, both then and now, that do justice to your lovely work. I really enjoyed this post!

Wendy Rodrigue Magnus said...

What a wonderful, insightful review. And I especially love your personal journey back in time, both within your art and your writing. Thank you for sharing--- and Congratulations!

Anonymous said...

What a great story about the circularity of your career, and I suppose, human life in general. The sensibilities and unique ways that you express your vision are so obvious from that early show—and fast forward to now. How lovely to see another glimpse into your development as an artist. You are, as Misa said... a beacon for other artists. Hearty congratulations to you.

Nancy Natale said...

Thanks so much, Jane, Wendy and Lynette! I appreciate your enthusiastic interest and I'm glad you enjoyed reading it.

Kate P. Miller said...

Very interesting to see your earlier work, fascinating work, fascinating evolution. Your writing is a joy and your work joyous, keep it up!

Cherie Mittenthal said...

Great story! Nice when people notice things!!

Helen Dannelly said...

Love Cauldron as well as your new work....!

Terry Jarrard-Dimond said...

Congratulations on the article! It's always wonderful to read a positive review of your work. I loved seeing some of your older pieces.

Marilyn Banner said...

The article on Provincetown Art History was like a huge delicious meal, and this one on career milestones, wow. Congratulations!
It's a pleasure to read your writing, and especially interesting to read about the circling back. I have had that experience as well, of getting back to something....thanks so much!!

Vanessa said...

This is cool!