Nancy Handelman’s paintings express a synergy of pictorial constructs and intuitive actions, and a sense of movement as inspired by music. They reflect her history as a third-generation New York abstract expressionist, using space, light, and tension to keep the viewer’s eye moving across the canvas. At the same time, living in Northern California for fifteen years has suffused her paintings with the vibrant colors and long spring typical of this part of the country.
Of her process, Handelman writes: “In the past, I have created abstractions from plein air studies; more recently, I have turned to other sources of inspiration. Current work has been based on photographs from newspapers. First, the design of the photograph captures my attention and begins the structure of the piece. Then, I begin an abstract exploration of the content of the photograph as the emotional core of the painting. I also seek to enrich my source material by adding another dimension: sound. For each painting, I make specific choices about the music I play in the studio. The rhythms help direct my brush, creating a specific
sense of movement in each piece. And I find myself dancing in my mind with artists I love. My paintings are how I thank them for their company. The scale of my work is continuing to grow. Content changes depending on the images I encounter. But rhythm remains the structure of my painting process.”