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Nancy Wolf

"Landscapes of Unease"
A Forty Year Survey of Drawing

November 9 - December 21, 2013

reception for the artist: Saturday, November 9, 4-6pm

Washington Post Review

Press Release

  Selected Works

Underpass, 1972
etching and silkscreen
24 x 18 inches

The Past Remembered , 1978
11 x 15 inches

Streets of the Prophets, 1980
carbon pencil
45 x 33 inches

Angel on Eldridge Street, 1981
27 x 22 inches

The Architect's Dilemma, 1981
10.75 x 7.75 inches

The Boiler, 1984
carbon pencil
12 x 15 inches

Whom Do We Follow, 1985
egg tempera, conte pencil
24 x 19.75 inches

Who Are We, 1985
12 x 15 inches

Ideal City, 1987
21 x 13 inches

Perfect Order, 1988
22 x 33 inches

Billboard Dreams, 1989
22 x 30 inches

The Past has no Future, 1990
pencil and carbon
30 x 22.5 inches

New Realities, 1990
22 x 15 inches

Pilgrimage, 1993
acrylic on canvas
35 x 50 inches

Implosion, 1994
gouache and pencil
56 x 45.25 inches

Pivot of the Four Quarters, 1994
gouache and colored pencil
28.25 x 28.25 inches

Turbulent Landscape, 2000
29 x 38 inches

Remains of the Day, 2002
42 x 32 inches

Gazing from a Mountain Pavillion (after Li Shida), 2003
23.25 x 14 inches

From Hutong to Highrise, 2005
pencil on paper
24 x 16 inches

Deconstruction-Reconstruction, 2005
pencil on paper
32 x 24 inches

Game Board, 2008
gouache and colored pencil
22 x 30 inches

High Line / Low Line, 2013
39 x 31 inches

Available for purchase at the gallery, Nancy Wolf: Hidden Cities, Hidden Longings,
by Karen A. Franck,
a monograph covering 25 years of work,
published by Academy Editions, 1996. (Only a limited number of copies remain.)

                                                           Available works by Nancy Wolf



The Washington Post, p E9
Sunday, December 8, 2013
by Mark Jenkins

Nancy Wolf appreciates the clean lines and simple forms of Bauhaus-style architecture. But she’s an artist, not an architect, so she has to ask: Where do people and tradition feature in the International Style’s attempt to cleanse cities of their historic character?

It’s a question she has been asking for 40 years as “Nancy Wolf: Landscapes of Unease” demonstrates.  The Marsha Mateyka Gallery retrospective begins with 1972’s  “The Underpass”, in which gaps in an immaculate grid reveal unruly pedestrians below.  It ends with 2013’s “High Line/Low Line”, in which centuries of architectural features promenade on Manhattan’s railway-turned-park, past blank high-rise facades.

During the period these detailed drawings were made, Wolf lived mostly in New York, but also in Washington’s “new Southwest” and Nigeria, and she traveled extensively in Asia.  All those places are reflected in her work, as are baroque Italy and Le Corbusier’s severe plans for France.  “Perfect Order” shows a city divided into zones so rigidly that it’s even more absurd than the architect’s scheme to replace Paris with a series of identical tower blocks.

Often, Wolf seems bemused or playful, as when she contrasts traditional Nigerian geometric motifs with modernist and industrial structures.  But sometimes she’s regretful or  even  angry:  “The Past Has No Future”  shows  a  leaning  New York  skyscraper that’s supported by the facades of the many 19th century beauties demolished to make room for it.

Among the most trenchant drawings are those that depict a rapidly changing China. Traditional buildings and layouts, as well as the landscapes of venerable Chinese painting, are displaced by culturally unrooted edifices such as Rem Koolhaas’s CCTV headquarters in Beijing.

“Reconstruction/Deconstruction” places the CCTV oddity amid a vast archaeological dig, like the one that yielded the Terra Cotta Warriors.

Wolf works mostly in pencil, rendering both modernist lines and classical curves with extraordinary precision. But occasionally she incorporates color, using gouache, acrylic and colored pencil.  The astonishingly complex “Pilgrimage” contrasts old and new, specific and general: Pilgrims wander elevated causeways above skyscrapers outlined in bright hues against black, on a quest toward architectural variety rather that monomaniacal modernism.

“LANDSCAPES OF UNEASE”: Nancy Wolf’s “Pilgrimage” (1993, acrylic on canvas)
contrasts old and new, as well as specific and general.

Nancy Wolf: Landscapes of Unease
On view through December 21 at Marsha Mateyka Gallery, 2012 R Street, NW,
202 328-0088, www.marshamateykagallery.com

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