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Nancy Steele-Makasci

On view:

January 15 - February 26

Reception: Friday January 14, 6:00PM

Artist Statement:

I was never meant to be an artist. I was born to poor Appalachian farmers who didn’t even graduate from high school. I spent my youth working in my father’s fields and sawmill. My unique hardships growing up poor in the dying agricultural landscape and culture of Appalachia has profoundly shaped my vision of my own country and world. I have been able to tap into a deep vein of suffering produced by being chronically poor, isolated, and disrespected. My work focuses on ideas that many of us struggle with in today’s world that is filled with insurmountable inequalities and injustices.


It was highly unlikely that a child, especially a girl, born into this environment could ever find the resources and opportunities to study art. My experiences, however, showed me that being an artist is not always afforded through affluence, opportunity and privilege, even though those advantages may help tremendously. Being an artist was written into my DNA. I strove and fought for the ability to make my work throughout my entire life. It was like a weed that couldn’t be killed. No matter the circumstances that tried to strangle and starve my desire to make art, that desire always survived and grew anew. 


As an artist, I have explored many different styles and media. Printmaking, book arts, collage, drawing and painting are my preferred means of expression.  My working process involves creating numerous sketches for each work, including numerous layers of drawings on tracing paper or vellum. Sketching initial ideas quickly and spontaneously has become an essential ritual in my working process. I believe that creative ideas are unique and powerful, sometimes even magical, often only appearing once. It is, therefore, the artist’s responsibility to capture these inspired phenomena while still vividly alive in the mind’s eye and commit them to paper. If not, these creative bursts, suddenly conceived within the artist’s mind, may disappear forever, never to return.


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