Chris Nau
Nancy Murphy Spicer

August 2 - September 7, 2002
Opening Reception: Friday, August 2, 6 - 9PM
Artists' Talk Saturday, August 3 @ Noon

Chris Nau and Nancy Murphy Spicer work directly on the wall in place of paper or canvas to create large scale works that fill the Gallery @ Green Street. Both artists talk about their work as "drawing" and are interested in negative space and the boundaries of things.

Retro Rocket review by Paul Parcellin cllick here: http://www.retro-rocket.com/archive/nau_spicer.html

Boston Globe review by Cate McQuaid

Nancy Murphy Spicer concentrates on the "objectness" of her "poured paint drawing elements" making the dimensional paint visceral, sensual, and engaging. Spicer makes room for her work somewhere between painting and sculpture. Spicer like Nau, eliminates the traditional support for her acrylic and latex paint pieces by painting directly on the wall or floor or pouring the thick, rubbery paint on a slick surface and peeling the dry paint up and attaching it to the wall. The smooth shapes of her organic forms are a function of how the liquid paint moves. Lines whip through the open spaces on the wall and floor with emphatic inertia. Subtle grays and rich colors are incorporated in the "cells" that chain together and wrap around the space enveloping the viewer in a sculptural environment. This environmental effect of being "submerged inside" a drawing relates more to installation art and sculpture than painting or drawing.

Chris Nau works to "keep the 2-D depth of a drawing" in what becomes a mostly monochromatic, 3-D surface ­ literally a cut up picture plane. The loose, gestural style and linear emphasis is born of a love of drawing but the deep cuts and subtle use of white paint to erase reveal the sculptural and painterly underpinnings of his work. Nau actually reshapes parts of the wall by pushing and pulling areas of his "wall cut drawings" into real space. Nau does not make separate, preliminary sketches, he instead responds to the size of the wall and the evolution of heavy graphite lines and erased areas to balance "how the drawing changes the wall and how the wall changes [the] drawing ." A jig saw is then used to cut along some of these lines and move solid areas to emphasize them physically. The artist asks us to consider how the cuts, actual negative spaces, can be part of the drawing and not part of the drawing at the same time.

The changes between real and illusionistic two and three dimensional space effects our relationship to the wall, floor and overall space of the drawing and the gallery. This installation approach often replaces the traditional stretcher, frame or pedestal for these artists. By working this way, Spicer observes, "the drawings respond to and influence the architectural space they inhabit, and in doing so become temporarily part of the place."
- James Hull


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