Friday, May 22, 2009

What artists have influenced you ? Nancy Tobin

Nancy Tobin is an artist living and working in Maplewood, NJ. She was recently in a show at the Parlor Gallery in Asbury Park, NJ and exhibits with Rupert Ravens Contemporary. She has a great new gig as a writer for the New York Times Local Blog interviewing artists in the Maplewood area. Bionic Fizz mixed media on panel 30 x 30 Nancy Tobin Here is what Nancy says about her work: My work deals with the power of memory. The human mind holds millions of snippets of visual memory. From the moment they are stored, memories become fiction; remembered, they become narrative. My art draws the viewer through that process. Organic forms (drawn out with scissors, paint, ink and pencil) are suspended in an atmosphere comprising layer upon layer of medium; the eye literally plumbs the painting’s depths in pursuit of meaning. My work spans cultures and media to include organic forms from nature, Asian art and textiles, cartoons, and decorative elements from around the world. Drawing is the genesis of my creative process; drawn forms imbue the work with organic unpredictably. It’s the most magical part of my paintings, representing a loss of control and an invitation to the viewer to follow. Representation is as powerful as it is futile. 1. Walt Disney- Love him or hate him, it's hard to deny his influence on our culture today. Saturday matinees at the local theater in Grand Rapids allowed me my first glimpses into the world of art. While the action was playing out in the foreground, I would find myself entranced by the captivating world created by the studio's background artists. 2. Hayao Miyazaki- Also inspired by Disney, Hayao Miyazaki weaves tapestries of make-believe where humans roam with fantastical creatures in glorious landscapes — with just enough creepy darkness to keep your teeth from rotting. 3. Islamic Miniatures- I'm amazed at the intricacy put into these tiny jewels. Oh, and WOW — the colors! 4. Richard Diebenkorn- I pored over his work when I was learning to paint in San Francisco. His color, his layering, his strokes seem effortless. Looking at his work makes me homesick for the Bay area. 5. Ernst Haeckel- His Art Forms of Nature is my Bible. 6. Paul Cezanne- I taught myself painting by copying his. 7. Andy Goldsworthy- His work is like a conversation with the Earth. 8. Chuck Close- His life-long commitment to the portrait provides continuity as he reinvents and challenges himself all along the way. 9. Mark Rothko- For his exploration into the dark — a place I'm happy just to skirt the edges. 10. The Universe- Maybe a cliché, but one of my biggest inspirations is what I see when I look out my window.


Eileen P. Goldenberg said...

What no women artists? Helen Franenthaler, Lyndia Bengalas, Louise Nevelson, Joan Mitchell, etc...

Nancy Tobin said...

Hi Eileen,
I wasn't thinking in terms of being democratic in my choices — just saying the first ten that seemed important to me.
However; many of the background painters used by Disney studios were indeed women, and one of my favorite contemporary artists is Shahzia Sikander, who does amazing work using the techniques of the Persian miniature. (The PBS series Art21 did a profile of her:, and I don't know, I could have used the more colloquial term for the Universe — Mother Nature. :)