The beauty and complexity of Nancy McCroskey's Midwestern landscape directly influences her ceramic relief artwork. The richly diverse line, color, and pattern of nature echo in her work. Her process evolves in a dialogue with her medium--clay, an organic medium depicting a biomorphic complex world in abstract.
The artist begins with drawings and moves into relief carving with oil clay. Eventually the work is cast and then the cast is carved and drawn into creating vibrant sculptural images. Part of this process is deliberate the remaining part is spontaneous. The later giving the work a fluidity and sense of movement even when the individual components are stayed. The artist drips, pours, and paints layers of colored liquid clay or slips, before it is fired for the first time. Next follows a process of glazing and staining taking place with oxides (metal colorants) and then firing. Often this process is repeated many times to achieve the desired color, surface and tactility.
McCroskey's works capture the physical beauty of nature as well as the essence of its spirituality. The repetition of line, shape and color give an overall ambiance and feel that provokes an ethereal response from the viewer that transcends the individual objects and subject matter depicted, to a more spiritual realm.
McCroskey's works bring several important figures in mind Matisse for vibrancy of color and pattern, Paul Klee for abstracted and stylized imagery, renown ceramic artist Peter Volkous and Rudy Autio (who McCroskey studied with in a summer residency in Montana) for their spontaneous and painterly approach to ceramic surfaces, Abstract Expressionism and many of the Color Field painters. In addition the British artist William Morris comes to mind for the engagement of fluid, dense pattern, and implied actual texture
The influence of the grid structure is also a fundamental ingredient to McCroskey's work, in common with numerous painters and sculptors, as a way to cover a large space with ceramic relief. The architectural terra cotta of Louis Sullivan are also an influence for the artist.
Nancy McCroskey's works on first glance are deceptively simple, elegant compositions --engaging you--when you think you have seen them in their entirety they provide you to look further--under the layers to receive their true meaning and essence.
Densie A. Bibro
Denise Bibro Fine Art
Chelsea, NYC 2005