Nancy Calef

artist artwork
Born in Bronx, New York, I completed Bronx High School of Science at age 15 and received a scholarship from the College of New Rochelle to study painting and sculpture. In 1977, I moved to San Francisco, where I continue making new work and regularly exhibit in solo and group shows.

For many years I’ve been creating “Peoplescapes,” oil, sculptured characters and applied objects on canvas, addressing cultural, political and spiritual issues facing society.By juxtaposing people in recognizable places and situations, each painting weaves together a story about contemporary life, filled with layers of detail, symbolism and humor.

I have also lived in Europe and Thailand, traveled throughout the U.S., Mexico, Central America, Southeast Asia, India and Nepal, painting in plein air, which has served to develop my painting style and sharpen my understanding of the cultural and spiritual diversity of the world landscape. I have come to realize that art is truly a universal language.

"Plane slashing” is the latest progression of my 3D technique building up the canvas; lately I’m tearing, cutting and manipulating the plane of an existing painting, while
integrating it with one or more finished canvases attached. Painting into the deconstructed imagery as a whole,leaving various portions of the underlying picture(s) in tact, results in a cohesively transformed multi-dimensional piece.

As this work evolves, the experience is liberating, moving from chaos to destruction and on to an intuitive composition somewhere between abstraction and surrealism. Everyday,I take the brush to canvas and, although I am confronted with fear and insecurity, I also tap into a limitless source of imagery.In those moments, time
falls away and it seems that the work creates itself.

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