About Nancy Arko


Statement

More than 15 years ago my work began to move toward a study of sounds, both man-made and natural. I first started working in this direction with abstracts done in soft pastels based on the concept of musical intervals. While working with musical intervals I kept asking myself questions about sound such as: what is music? why do we call some collections of sound music and others noise or “just sounds”? how do musical scales work? and other such questions. It became very apparent to me that even the simplest sounds are very complex.

More recently I have been painting images of places I visit and love, places that give me solace and comfort. I am finding that the conditions necessary for comfort and solace are also both simple and complex. Much of my inspiration comes from my frequent visits to the Oregon coast and much from less frequent visits to the high desert and wetlands of southeastern Oregon. Again I am focusing particularly on the unique sounds, or lack of sounds, I find in each place. This has become a large part of the way I know these areas.

I hope my work awakens in the viewer a similar appreciation for these simple sounds that enrich our lives and moves us toward thoughts of their deeper complexities.

Process

My images are abstracted, but remain recognizable. I paint on canvas with oils to which cold wax has been added. The wax gives the painting a matte finish and adds body to the paint which I apply to the canvas with palette knives. The gestural marks you see in my work are as important to me as the colors I choose and the overall composition.