Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Art of Nancy Edell

When I was a child, women spent a lot of time on what was known as the Feminine Arts. As time passed and our culture changed, a high percentage of women had to pursue employment and with it some of the traditional arts associated with women have all but disappeared.

Before I get a lot of letters from readers, please let me say that I am not making any sexist judgements. There are a lot of social, cultural and economic forces behind this shift.

Then, along comes Nancy Edell.

Nancy was an American who emigrated to Canada and took out Canadian citizenship.
She lived in Winnipeg and moved from there to Halifax. It wasn't long before Nancy began discovering the remnants of the arts of crocheting, rug hooking and needle work, and being an artist Nancy was quick to see the passing of a an art form, making its last stand in flea markets,and auction sales.

Gemmaria Gimnosa Hydroid. Oil on plywood.

Nancy focused, as an artist, upon drawing from this cultural legacy and turning it into her contemporary artform.

Nancy's biography on the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia's site says:

Edell was a multi-talented artist who worked in the media of animation, drawing, printmaking, and painting, but it was her use of the traditional media of rug-hooking that moved her work into a new and influential direction.

Nancy died in Halifax in 2005, at the age of 63. She was born in Omaha, Nebraska and when she eventually settled in Nova Scotia she became a part time teacher at NASCAD univeristy.
You can read Nancy's biography by clicking here to be taken to the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia's website.

As someone who has been living with the shadow of cancer I am impressed by Nancy who faced her terminal illness by becoming lost in painting by playing classical music and painting by the hour. Its therepeutic and it gives great inner freedom.

Here's another link to a good write up about Nancy, as a 'visionary artist'. Please click here.

The CBC website provides this background on Nancy's accomplishments:

· Bachelor of Fine Arts, University of Omaha, Nebraska 1964
· Filmmaking Program, University of Bristol, England 1968-69

· "Bricabra" (solo) touring exhibition, Dalhousie University Art Gallery, Halifax NS; Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba, Brandon; Museum of Textiles, Toronto ON; Confederation Centre, Charlottetown PEI 1998-99
· "Hooked On Rugs", Canadian Museum of Civilization, Hull PQ 1998
· "Layers of Meaning" touring exhibition, Bradford Industrial Museum; Collins Gallery; Cleveland Crafts Centre; UK 1997-98
· Numerous awards for Animated Films at festivals in Chicago, Amsterdam, Southhampton, Ann Arbor, Oberhausen 1969-72
· Numerous Canada Council Grants from 1974 to present

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