*The Process: Nancy Donnelly Creates Baptismal Font: 4/11/13*
This blogpost appeared with pictures at the Washington Glass School blog
on April 11, 2013:
The Process: Nancy Donnelly Creates Baptismal Font
As part of the ongoing series titled "The Process" the Washington Glass School blog focuses on the methodology of an artist or technique. Today, Nancy Donnelly gives an in-depth look at a glass artwork commission she has recently completed for the Lewinsville Presbyterian Church in McLean, VA. Have a look as she outlines how she made the fused glass central baptismal font for the church.
For this community, baptism is the central rite. Nancy describes what they were looking for in art glass: "They wanted to see the water in action...they wanted a big bowl, nice shallow curve so the water would be scoopable, clear glass with a wavelet pattern in blues, darker in the center and fading toward the rim." The font was to be situated in the center of the space, located in a stand that would reveal the water to the congregation.
Nancy made a variety of bowls.
Said Nancy, "Ive made many glass bowls, but none that big. I knew there would be a number of samples made until I got it right and could present the best one." Nancy made a number of fused glass test pieces in the Washington Glass Studio.
Nancy was concerned about how the colors looked and how the edges would be finished, as well as how deep a bowl profile was needed.
Nancy said of her test process, "I made glass sandwiches, (colored frit fused between two sheets of glass). I knew this method could be risky, as bubbles could form as the trapped air is locked between the sheets of glass as the glass melts. Bubbles are part of glass, and my worry was, how big is too big?"
Nancy also wanted to emphasize the feeling of rippling water. "In the first go, my wavelets looked like little upside-down drawings of seagulls. The second try I got a lot of big bubbles at the rim. On the third one, I tried avoided bubbles by filling in with clear frit, which did not turn out well!" she explained. In the final glass baptismal font, the aqua colors of the frit have a nice, soft undulating texture.
*Review in WaPo by Mark Jenkins, 3/15/13*
From The Washington Post, Friday, March 15, 2013:
D.C. artist Nancy Donnelly does landscapes, still lifes and figure studies, all traditional genres. But hers have an added aspect, because theyre translucent. Six years ago, Donnelly began working in glass, which makes even the thinnest of her works sculptural. Transmission, her show at VisArts at Rockvilles Common Ground Gallery, encompasses rectangular compositions with just a hint of depth, pieces in which certain elements protrude from the plane and works that are fully three-dimensional.
The last category includes flower arrangements such as Bouquets, whose simplified forms suggest pop arts directness but whose colors subtly shift along the length of the glass fronds. Among the near-flat objects are nature scenes such as Sea and Sky I and the more abstract Tribute to William Morris, a homage to the Victorian-era designer and theorist that employs a subtle black and green palette. Perhaps the most striking sculptures are those in which well-rounded female nudes, rendered in bluish or greenish glass, emerge from contrastingly hued blocks. Theyre metaphors for creation and liberation, making them pertinent not just to one artist who has found her medium.
on view through March 24 at Common Ground Gallery, VisArts at Rockville, 155 Gibbs St., Rockville; 301-315-8200; visartsatrockville.org."
Piece of The Story Featuring the Glass Work of Nancy Donnelly.
ed. Larry Janezich
Nancy Donnelly (says): Here is a recent piece called Woman in Checked Blouse. Glass with a steel frame, 2012. This piece is based on something I saw, and it uses a new technique for me, plus an old one.
I trained in Seattle as an oil painter, and of course Ive been drawing all my life. When I began making glass art, I put aside my drawing/painting skills and began making 3-dimensional work primarily. This has been going on for about 5 years. Not to say I quit making 2-D work completely, but I put my emphasis on learning how to handle the third dimension.
Lately Ive been missing drawing and painting. There are a couple ways to deal with that I can turn my attention to drawing/painting as a supplement, or as a replacement for working in glass. I started making linocuts and printing them in glass as well as paper, and when traveling I focused on watercolor. But how nice if I can use all my skills in one art form!
Happily for me, and with the help of my mentor Michael Janis, I can figure this out. This piece uses ceramic pencils and embeds the pencil marks inside the glass. Theres a depth thats achieved as the shadow of the pencil bounces off the white backing up through the glass. Placement of light is important in these pieces.
The other aspect of this work is the feeling that might shine out from it. What emotion is this woman conveying? Is she responding to something she sees? Can a viewer look at her and see something of his or her own emotions? What is she trying to say? These questions belong to the viewer.
I expect to be using this technique and other, more painterly, techniques in glass during 2013. My next big show is a solo exhibit at the Common Grounds Gallery in VisArts, 155 Gibbs St, Rockville MD. That show starts February 22 and ends March 24, 2013. Heres my web address: www.nancydonnelly.com
Ed. - capitolhillcorner.org feature Piece of the Story presents an image of a piece of work by a Capitol Hill artist and a paragraph written by the artist explaining how the piece tells the story of the artists recent work.
*Washington Glass School Blogpost (10/1/2012)*
Nancy Donnelly Solo Show at Foundry Gallery:
New Glass, With Drawings: New Work by Nancy Donnelly
Wednesday, October 3 - Sunday, October 28, 2012
Opening Reception: Friday, October 5 from 6 - 8 pm
This solo show of Nancy Donnellys glass art, including sculptural pieces and drawings in glass and on paper, depends on color and light for its effects. The show includes abstract glass plants and flowers, with prints and drawings that look almost casual but have relaxation, joy and a sense of humor at their center.
Over the last 18 months Nancy has put her artistic practice under the microscope. Nancy's glass is bigger and she includes her works on paper. She's incorporating aspects from in her current activities in her imagery, such as traveling in Thailand.
Earlier this year, DC Arts critic, Lenny Campello said of her work : 'Nancy Donnelly's new work takes the color stripes from the canvas of the 1960s giants of DMV painting and re-invents it in a fresh new approach to a 21st century dialogue in glass and concrete' In her work, Nancy strives for something like realism, but with respect for abstraction.
Trained as a painter, Nancy discovered glass as an art medium a few years ago. For her artworks in this show, she she is consciously bringing drawing and painting back into her work, working bigger, and melding glass with other materials, as well as making more art on paper. She describes her work as "trying and trying to say something without words."
*Dcartnews.blogspot.com, Wednesday, May 19, 2010*
I'm hearing good things about the Nancy Donnelly and Jill Finsen show at City Gallery, 804 H St NE in DC.
Nancy's glass bird forms in colors, are now swooping around the gallery, the egg shapes, also in colors, are lit from below and are quite beautiful while Finsen continues her exploration of color in some beautiful paintings. Jill Finsen will be at City Gallery Saturday May 22 and Saturday May 29. All photos by Pete Duvall.
*Letter to the Editor, Washington Post, May 8, 2010*
washingtonpost.com > Opinions > Feedback
Regarding Blake Gopnik's essay on the Niki de Saint Phalle exhibit along New York Avenue ["Taking it to the streets," Style, April 28], I wrote:
Our Puritan history would seem to propose that every action be directed at improvement and self-education, with an eye to salvation. Niki de Saint Phalle, it must be said, does not speak to a Puritan tradition. There is much more in her art of a striving toward joy, an interest in conveying lightness of being or what -- pleasure? happiness? Do we have a word for "having a good time"?
The first Saint Phalle I saw was the odd, delightful, moving, splashing fountain figures near the Pompidou Center in Paris. Then, a large exhibit at the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nice, France, out on the terrace and all about the place. Finally, a huge, midnight-blue, sparkly, flying female figure swooping down from the ceiling of the Zurich train station, arms wide to embrace us below.
So what is worth doing? Is there room for delight in the vocabulary of art? Perhaps. Sometimes perception is actually bigger than the current vocabulary of criticism. Not everybody wants always to be striving for a leg up, or to express anger or despair. Other sides of human experience are also valid, and a great relief.
Nancy Donnelly, Washington
*Artist Portrait: by Jim Magner, Hill Rag, June 2009*
A Capitol Hill artist and writer, Jim can be reached at Artandthe City05@aol.com
Nancy Donnelly is constantly reaching for meaning as she models and casts each glass sculptureshaping a vision with her fingers while questioning the purposes as well as the forms that evolve through each step of the process.
Glass is just glass regardless of how pretty it is. Its imagination wrapped in meaning that turns it into art. Its the reaching for that meaning that makes the artist.
Glass itself holds much of the mystery. Nancy has to arrive at a mutual destination with the materials, which are both limiting and freeing. She is on a magical mystery tour, discovering the secrets of color as applied to glass: How green glass neutralizes the red hue of copper and lets the gold tints come through. And how painting on the back of the glass reveals the molded images from behind, using the glass surface as a canvas.
This is a natural approach for Nancy who began painting in the mid-90s, attending art schools in Seattle. Holding a PHD in Anthropology, she took a structured approach, studying the craft of painting and the science of color. Five years ago, she took a class at the Washington Glass School
and found her heaven.
Nancy continues to paintshe contributed two panels to fill the window spaces at the Eastern Market after the fi re but finds glass, even more than painting, a melding of the technical and the emotional. They have to come together.
Schools can teach technique and craft, but only the student can supply the content. That is the essence of Nancys art: Its in the reaching for meaning and creating a narrative.
The future for Nancy Donnelly? She is moving to standalone 3-dimensional figures, which are more sculptural where you can extend your own sensitivities in an exchange with the substance of the figure.
Nancy is showing this month at Artomatic (on the 9th floor, just off the elevators).
About my Tall Blue Dress, by Lenny Campello, blogpost:
Yesterday I told you about my jury duty at CHAW, and the winning piece by Nancy Donnelly... it is titled "Tall Blue Dress." It is steel and glass.
And yet another piece of evidence of the terrific new glass revolution taking place in the nation's capital greater area.
Someone should go and buy this piece; the opening reception is Oct. 11 from 5-7PM.