Nancy Azara's carved and painted wood sculpture is updated with silver and gold gilt, red pigment, and made more ancient with family handprints and spirals that suggest pre-historic petroglyphs and cave paintings. Using Ojibwe elements and her personal spirituality, Azara carves her personal stories and symbols into the wood, finding in the totem tradition inspiration to make her own multi-panel works.
Sept. 12-Oct.19, 2013
Asya Geisberg Gallery
537 B West 23rd St., NYC
Nancy's Statement about the work:
Four Gold Feathers:From the Eagle
This sculpture, assembled, carved, painted and gilded wood is inspired by traditional totems, especially those of Native American artists, so that it is about family, present and past, about nature and its relationship to healing and about a wisdom gleaned from a spiritual reach into the unknown.
I have chosen an eagle feather to be central to this work. Eagles fly the highest in the sky and are revered because of this. The four feathers are from one feather, traced and carved into old barn wood and gilded with gold leaf, four times for the four directions. This eagle feather was given to me by an Ojibway artist friend many years ago. It has since been a talisman for me and hangs in an honored place in my studio.
Tibetan Buddhist master Pema Chodron writes "All of us are eagles who have forgotten how to fly." This sculpture evokes this desire, communicating with the eagle trying to remember "how to fly."
Central to the work is a vibrant red leaf from a catalpa tree at the "heart."
Below that are family history masks, one imposed upon the other like individual Etruscan death masks all together, ancestors in a stack, one layered over the other, all my relations.
In Four Gold Feathers there are also fertility symbols such as seed forms; a spiral, a vision quest to somewhere; and a link to the future with my granddaughter's hands, traced and carved into the silvery whitish tall posts which frame the work on either side, some in dark shadow, some in shrouded light, and one gilded with gold like the feathers.