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Nancy Paul - Time/Lines

Nancy Paul


July 2 - September 12, 2020


Nancy Paul, Oil on Canvas, 24x36, 1980

Time/Lines is about my search for understanding and hope. Time attempts perspective and philosophizes from a distance, while Lines finds energy in the rhythms and routines of daily life.

Despite overwhelming evidence of crises from climate change to social injustice to pandemic, many governments around the world seem unable/unwilling to act even as democracy is under threat and truth-telling stifled. Individuals feel powerless to enact change. As Shakespeare's Lear knows, the naked body is an enduring symbol of human vulnerability and helplessness; it can also, however, represent beauty, grace and love, an aesthetic of salvation. The female nude for me is at once surrogate seeker of truth and object of scrutiny. In my work the female figure is both self and other; she represents communication and compassion.

 "My work is a search for understanding of the world and my place in it.  The female figure is at once my agent of discovery and the object of my scrutiny.   ​I use contrast and juxtaposition, repetition and sequencing, to explore the spaces between and around us and to suggest relationships. Creatures of the sea and sky are among my favourite subjects.  Times of day and night, the cycle of the seasons, provide context and perspective in my art."

About Nancy

​Nancy Paul is a painter, drawer and printmaker who has exhibited with professional groups such as the Canadian Society of Artists and the Organization of Kingston Women Artists.  Her recent solo shows in Toronto (Dualities/Mythologies, Rebecca Gallery, 2018) and Kingston (Restoring Balance, Art Noise, 2018) featured paintings on canvas, paper and stone tile.  A selection of her work currently (Winter 2020) is on display at the Piggery Gallery in Newburgh. Originally from northwestern Ontario, Nancy moved to Toronto to study art (OCAD) then Kingston (Queen’s) where she has worked in cancer research and earned her doctorate in literature.  She lives in Lansdowne with her husband, Steve, and their cat, Zarco.


The Seasons series is a project I started 40 years ago and brought to a close just this year. In these large canvases the figure is solitary and self-absorbed; she is at once dominant in brooding presence and withdrawn in mood, wrapped in uncertainty. “Dreaming ICU”, the Winter 2020 piece which closes the series, is anomalous in that the figure is inconspicuous. This work ties in to my Nereids sequence of paintings wherein a tiny pair of figures – their size symbolizing the humility needed to connect – explore distant lands and seas, real and imagined.


Life drawing is essential to my art. I need these sessions to loosen my hand and free my mind; if I go too long without them, my work tightens. With each one I generate numerous drawings and paintings which accumulate in a drawer, although in many ways they represent my best work. For this show I mounted them on panels treated with coloured gesso rather than confine them in frames, in some cases exploring further with paint to develop an inherent complexity of expression. Lines celebrates especially the gesture drawings, those 30-second sketches done before longer poses; they have the vitality, purpose and direction to inspire us now.