Nancy Natale: Reflections and Shadows

Summer Solos, Part 1: Brenda Goodman   
Summer Solos, Part 2: Debra Ramsay  
Summer Solos, Part 3: Helen Miranda Wilson
Summer Solos, Part 4: Karen Schifano

On a recent trip to Boston’s Arden Gallery, I had a chance to visit a splendid solo exhibition of work by Nancy Natale. Based in Western Massachusetts but known nationally through her work and her blog, Natale has created two-dimensional mixed-media constructions that would fall under the rubric of painting (she describes them as bricolage), but which embody the luminous translucence of stained glass, pieced in the manner of quilting, and "stitched" together with canvas tacks in the manner of a cobbler. The multiplicity of references is mirrored by the sheer volume of visual activity in each work.

Shimmer,  2014, mixed media, 48 x 36 inches

In viewing the work however, what matters is the way light appears to flow across the surface, or how inserts of copper or other metal intensify an existing glow. Those tacks, hammered at regular intervals but not rigorously measured, not only hold the whole thing in place but also create vertical polyrhythms against the horizontality of the pieced composition. So add a suggestion of music to the energetic mix.

Installation views at Arden Gallery
Above left: Red Pair, with Cugat and Montalban;  right, Shimmer
(Sculpture is by Michelle Knox)

Below: Shimmer and All Good Intentions

Closer examination reveals a trove of “reading material”—book spines and pages, some cut-up album covers, even paintings. In a blog post about her work, Natale writes, “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.”

Green Shade, 2014, mixed media, 36 x 36 inches

Installation with Green Shade several smaller works 

You can read more on Natale's blog.  

The exhibition is up through August 30. Be sure to visit Kim Bernard’s solo exhibition in the front gallery and (insert shameless plug here) a peek into the back room, where the work of gallery artists, including my own, is on salon-style display.


Nancy Natale said...

What a lovely post you wrote about my show and my work! Thank you for visiting, for writing and for your enthusiasm!

Unknown said...

Just love the art!!