Show Preview | Nancy Bush

Fredericksburg, TX
InSight Gallery, October 18-November 8

Nancy Bush, Nocturne, oil, 48 x 48.

Nancy Bush, Nocturne, oil, 48 x 48.

This story was featured in the October 2016 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art  October 2016 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

“Standing in front of a Nancy Bush painting,” observes Elizabeth Harris, InSight Gallery co-owner, “is like a calm, quiet retreat.” Truly, the artist’s beautifully composed and hushed canvases offer a respite from the chaos, cacophony, and constant badgering of our ever-connected world. So art aficionados would do well to seek refuge at Bush’s solo exhibit entitled Interpretations, which opens on Tuesday, October 18, and runs through November 8. As the title suggests, the works in this show, which debut at an artist’s reception on Friday, November 4, from 6 to 8 p.m., grant viewers the space to engage personally with the moods and emotions of these understated yet complex paintings.

While the dozen or so pieces—a number of them large-scale—are all new, Harris describes the show as “classic Nancy Bush.” She goes on to explain that, through painting in the tradition of tonalism, the Fredericksburg native captures the ephemeral shifts in light over the high plains of New Mexico and the gently rolling and bucolic topography of the Texas Hill Country. These are landscapes she knows intimately: their sudden cloudbursts, the bends of streams, mist-baffled hayfields, the dawns and gloaming.

“My motto is: less is more,” states Bush, “and I continue to challenge myself with new ways to express this, which finds me moving into a more contemporary style.” Indeed, in striving toward fulfilling this ideal, her most recent works invite more participation from viewers, as their specific geographic details are not as delineated as they have been in the past. Instead, the artist invites us to grapple with the mystery evoked by layers of atmosphere and by shapes that may, or may not, emerge from the gauzy haze. And individual works address oft-explored tonalist themes, such as depicting the waning light of day through a limited palette of low-contrast middle hues.

By way of example, consider the 48-by-48-inch canvas entitled NOCTURNE, in which a gently sweeping movement of cloud cover reveals through its vaporous blue veil a partially shrouded but still luminous rising moon. The painting evocatively portrays the painter’s own perceptual experience:
her presence, subjectivity, and vantage point. Certainly the details that Bush has so delicately obfuscated conjure a deliberate air of moodiness; yet, the work resists too strongly insinuating its own point of view, instead inviting the viewer’s own contemplative and singular involvement.

“So much of what I’m trying to capture comes and goes in a flash,” the artist explains. It is precisely this ephemeral quality that informs the poignancy and emotional tenor of her paintings. SUMMER RAIN, for instance, with its wide, soft gray sky and distant horizon line, gorgeously represents just how fleeting can be the effects of wind and water. Inclement weather aside, one may do well to seek safe harbor in the quiet and intimate communion Bush’s paintings offer. They provide beautiful places to weather life’s occasional storms. —Lynn Dubinsky

contact information
830.997.9920
www.insightgallery.com

This story was featured in the October 2016 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art  October 2016 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

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