Nancy Lu Rosenheim
My fictions reside where the grotesque meets the flamboyant, where beasts express human emotions and roam an earth in the throes of environmental mutation. Employing sculpture, painting, drawing and assorted forms of printmaking, my vision is decidedly imagist and steeped in material exploration.
I fashion beasts out of features borrowed from animal, human and mythological beings to explore psychological and emotional states of mind. My approaches vary from portraiture to allegorical landscape, and from illustration to installation. My imagery evolves alongside my personal and political perspectives. For example, in a brush-and-ink portrait series, I propose aging as both intimate experience and social stereotype. Where a beaver’s tooth might imply decrepitude, I use the unfurling tongue of a mythic hag to denote power.
The flora and fauna of my quotidian life in the Driftless Area of Wisconsin and my glimpses of wildlife during travel inspire me in equal measure. Currently, I am drawn to the homeliest creatures – rodents, pigeons, and worms – for they embody the messy feelings, vulnerabilities and unleashed instincts that connect and humanize us.
My supplies range from 14 karat gold to papier mâché, traditional paints, and raw pigment – I select what best suits the expressive needs of each project. In sculpture, I try to assert the material itself, rather than cloak it with paint. Thus, plaster retains its thirsty chalkiness while polystyrene’s garish pink suffuses an entire installation. I cast and stitch
natural latex to evoke plucked goose flesh, while saturated hues of silk thread encase jute to mimic choking vines.
I entrust portions of my creative process to intuition and navigate the possible outcomes. This purposeful mode of abandon, like the automatism practiced by the surrealists, allows me to discover, rather than impose, my narratives. Harnessing our impulse to anthropomorphize, I consider a project successful when I have enticed you, the viewer, to complete the story.