Nancy Charak: Drawing on Experience
June 27 - July 24, 2008
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I see art as a series of visual problems asking to be defined and perhaps not necessarily to be solved. As I work, I ask myself: "How much is enough, when is it done, is more needed, another color, another line, what should that color be, how thin, how thick, how many, how much, how flat, how full, is this painting about the edge or the center and when is it finished?"
The making is unselfconscious, but it is definitely not "unconscious" or arising out of any hypnotic or automatic process. As I work, I am making a thousand-million decisions while trusting my hand, touch, eye, and years of experience. I am always looking at the work of other artists for two big reasons: for the sheer joy of it, and also to see how other artists are solving visual problems. I am in constant dialogue with the work of other artists. I stand on the shoulders of giants.
My function as an artist is not to tell the truth, it is to captivate viewers for as long as I can hold their attention. If I stumble onto my viewer's particular truth, then I am lucky. It is not necessary for the artwork to be any more than what it is. What is necessary is for the art to flow from inside and to allow the paintings and drawings to spring from my entire set of experiences and sensibilities as an artist.
My giants are Jiri Kolar, Agnes Martin, Robert Motherwell, Joan Mitchell, Grace Hartigan, Dorothy Dehner, John Marin, Paul Jenkins, Minna Citron, Arthur Dove, Franz Kline, Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock - the father of all of us, Frida Kahlo for her courage to look inward and show us her reflections, Joseph William Mallord Turner who was surely the first impressionist, Vincent Van Gogh who knew about turning out a large quantity of work from the inside, and the guys and gals in the caves at Lascaux and Altamira.
Nancy Charak is an affiliate member of the A.R.C. Gallery and Educational Foundation of Chicago, Illinois, one of the oldest womens' art cooperatives in the country. Her art has been exhibited in Edinburgh, Scotland, New York City, and has traveled nationally with the Poetic Dialogue project to the University of Wisconsin at Waukesha and the H.F Johnson Gallery at Carthage College.
A native Chicagoan, Nancy has studied photography and design at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and painting and drawing at Northern Illinois University, where she received her M.F.A. Her work has been shown in several significant juried exhibitions including: the Chicago and Vicinity Show at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Davidson National Print and Drawing Competition, and awarded a purchase prize from the Chattahoochee Valley Art Association. Nancy's work has also been represented by several galleries, Van Straaten and Bernal in Chicago and Genesis in New York.
Nancy's studio is located in the Roscoe Village neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois. Her work is in several corporate and private collections throughout the Midwest, including Cleveland, the Chicago area, and the Sherwood Forest Bed and Breakfast of Saugatuck, Michigan.