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Art & Life with Nancy Natale

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nancy Natale.

Nancy, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I was not one of those who began drawing as soon as I could hold a crayon. I was more interested in reading and writing than making art, and not until after many life events and a couple of husbands did I begin making paintings. An artist friend encouraged me to apply to Massachusetts College of Art & Design, and there I earned a BFA with honors, transferring in academic credits from the BA in English I had achieved from University of Massachusetts in Boston.

Years went by before I knew just what I was doing, but I persisted, usually being able to afford a studio outside my home or a live/work space. In 1995 I was awarded a Pollack Krasner grant and also had a residency at the Millay Colony for the Arts in Austerlitz, NY.

History of place really started to resonate for me, and I worked with the Somerville Museum and the Somerville Arts Council to organize shows addressing various local historical events such as a river that had been filled in because of pollution and a convent school burned down by a mob. Art and artists were a major component of these shows and brought to life what might otherwise have been rather dry facts.

About 15 years ago, my partner and I relocated to western Massachusetts. Here, I’ve been concentrating more on my own work, winning a grant from the Artists Resource Trust a couple of years ago. I began painting with encaustic (heated wax) and got involved with the annual encaustic conference, where I taught and gave talks for 11 years. I also became Executive Editor of ProWax Journal, a quarterly online magazine for professional artists working in wax and encaustic.

Link to ProWax Journal – http://prowaxjournal2.blogspot.com/

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
Although I use various mediums, my work with repurposed materials and encaustic has become most well-known. My series, the Running Stitch, which uses encaustic along with pieces of books, album covers, rubber, cardboard, tar paper, textiles, and other things, has been my main focus for the past several years. The materials are fastened to cradled panels using upholsterer’s tacks, and the aligned heads of the tacks form a syncopated rhythm of metal that catches the light. I call these works constructed paintings.

The Running Stitch series alludes to memory and personal history: how they collide, interact, become reinterpreted, and finally fade away in the blur of time’s passage. Collectors, according to my gallery, memorize book titles that they find in particular works and can recite them, finding personal meaning and interpretations.

Color and texture are primary components in my work and geometric abstraction provides the organization. As I construct the works, I am looking for juxtapositions that please me and may encourage interpretation by viewers and collectors. Overall, the works pique interest because of their color, range of materials, and somewhat hidden text.

What would you recommend to an artist new to the city, or to art, in terms of meeting and connecting with other artists and creatives?
I would say that much of an artist’s life is solitary rather than lonely, and having the time and space to be alone with thoughts and ideas is part of the creative process. For those of us who aren’t part of an active artists’ studio building, social media groups have filled a gap. I got to know a wide range of people in person through the annual encaustic conference and have kept in touch in particular Facebook artist groups. I also have been working on a project with a group of artists in Connecticut and have enjoyed getting to know them and building an emotional bond with them. I think that many artists find connections with others through crit groups or workshops. For me, there is nothing better than getting together in person with a group of artist friends to talk about what we are all doing and what we have seen lately. That bond is one of the most rewarding parts of being an artist.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
I am represented by Arden Gallery on Newbury Street in Boston. People may also come upon my work around Boston at the Boston Medical Center or Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Fidelity Investments, and at the Delta Airlines Sky Club at Logan Airport. Supporting my work by purchasing it helps me and my gallery to keep art contributing as a vital part of our economy.

Contact Info:

 
Image Credit:
John Polak Photography

Getting in touch: BostonVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

5 Comments

  1. Lynette Haggard

    July 30, 2018 at 4:10 pm

    Very nice work and interesting personal history!

  2. Corinne Diana

    July 30, 2018 at 5:47 pm

    Nancy- I have always loved your work and take pride in knowing you from the beginning of your journey. You’ve come a long way, as they say, and I look forward to your continued success and growth.

    • Nancy Natale

      August 2, 2018 at 1:11 pm

      Thanks so much, Corinne! You were inspirational in my beginning art studies and career. I will never forget the encouragement you gave me and the model you set for me.

  3. Bascha Mon

    July 31, 2018 at 4:39 pm

    HiNancy, I was lucky to meet you in person at an encaustic conference years ago and of course, we keep in touch on FB. this is a fine interview. I especially like the photo that shows you working on a piece on a table. your process is so intriguing. the results are excellent. congrats on this nice interview. bascha mon

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