Artist Statement

Butterflies in Islamic iconography represent the soul.  That is the inspiration for my loose line drawings in the Opus and Genesis Series.Since 2006 I've explored this as an image based on its spiritual presence.  My medium for this series has been both ceramic tile and works on paper.  The series was started in a residency at Woolyo Ceramics in Korea (in In 1979, I first pursued the concept of “Rainbars.”  Many of my handmade paper works have always been focused on the nature and it's relationships.  Rainbars and Seadrift are about the environment.

Shape of Water is all about that soft thick tule fog that creeps quietly along the water.  Being native San Franciscan, the environment of water and fog is central to my life and work.  The preservation of our natural environment greatly concerned my parents and family.  I always enjoyed swimming in Pacific and currently at Tomales Bay.  Water in all its forms has always been a central source of imagery in my work and centering presence in my life. The currents and waves are the source of my calligraphic line is water – both in painting andin sculpture.

The importance of line in my work also comes from my love of the written word.  In 1965, my mother brought me a book written in Farsi (ancient Persian) from her travels in Iran.  My own travels in Uzbekistan, Yemen, and Asia immersed me in different environments of calligraphy that lead to a new development of the open structure and line in my imagery. 

Another aspect of my work is the importance of layers.  In the mid 70's I began experimenting with handmade paper.  When paper is still wet it is translucent and a bit transparent.  As it dries the different layers become opaque.  My way of revealing and including the other colored or textured layers was to tear or leave some of the top layers very carefully in the damp pulp.  In 1974 it was called the “Genn Method.”  I prefer to come them tear-ups.  The importance of layering in all my paintings started from that intense experience with handmade paper.  The threads of rain in my Rainbar series are built up in layers in a similar way to the layering pulp of my papermaking.

My organic sculpture forms stand in counterpoint to the Rainbar series. Together they create a total environment. The linear bronzes with the scroll paintings signify a harmony and peace in that relationship.


Nancy Genn : New Works


Nancy Genn : The Artist Was There