NANCY GENN (b.1929), Untitled, 1961, Ink on paper, 15“ x 10 ¾ “ framed
Ex Collection David Cole Gallery, Los Angeles

Nancy Genn

Post War California artist, Nancy Genn studied at the California School of Fine Arts (now The San Francisco Art Institute) and University of California, Berkeley (1947 – 1949).

Note from the Artist:

Butterflies in Islamic iconography represent the soul.  That is the inspiration for my loose line drawings in the Opus and Genesis Series. Since 2006 I’ve explored this as an image based on its spiritual presence.  My medium for this series has been both ceramic tile and works on paper.  The series was started in a residency at Woolyo Ceramics in Korea (in 2006).
In 1979, I first pursued the concept of “Rainbars.”  Many of my handmade paper works have always been focused on the nature and it’s relationships.  Rainbars and Seadrift are about the environment.?? Shape of Water is all about that soft thick tule fog that creeps quietly along the water.
Being native San Franciscan, the environment of water and fog is central to my life and work.  The preservation of our natural environment greatly concerned my parents and family.  I always enjoyed swimming in Pacific and currently at Tomales Bay.  Water in all its forms has always been a central source of imagery in my work and centering presence in my life. The currents and waves are the source of my calligraphic line is water – both in painting and in sculpture.
The importance of line in my work also comes from my love of the written word.  In 1965, my mother brought me a book written in Farsi (ancient Persian) from her travels in Iran.  My own travels in Uzbekistan, Yemen, and Asia immersed me in different environments of calligraphy that lead to a new development of the open structure and line in my imagery.
Another aspect of my work is the importance of layers. In the mid 70’s I began experimenting with handmade paper.  When paper is still wet it is translucent and a bit transparent.  As it dries the different layers become opaque.  My way of revealing and including the other colored or textured layers was to tear or leave some of the top layers very carefully in the damp pulp.  In 1974 it was called the “Genn Method.”  I prefer to come them tear-ups.  The importance of layering in all my paintings started from that intense experience with handmade paper.
The threads of rain in my Rainbar series are built up in layers in a similar way to the layering pulp of my papermaking.??
My organic sculpture forms stand in counterpoint to the Rainbar series. Together they create a total environment. The linear bronzes with the scroll paintings signify a harmony and peace in that relationship.

Selected Exhibitions
California Palace of Legion of Honor
SF Museum of Art
Space Mater Gallery, Consonance, Todi, Italy
Museo di Ca’ Pesaro, Galleria Internazionale d’ Arte Moderna, Venice, Italy
Architecture from Within, Palazzo Ferro Fini, Venice, Italy
Vessel Gallery, Oakland, CA
Carl Cherry Center for the Arts, Carmel, CA
University of California, Santa Cruz, Cowell College curated by Linda Pope
Sanchez Art Center, Pacifica Center for the Arts, Pacifica, CA
Sagan Piechota, Architects San Francisco, CA
Flatfile Galleries, Chicago, IL
Fresno Art Museum, Fresno, CA curated by Jacquelin Pillar
Bolinas Museum, Bolinas, CA curated by Mrs Nancy White
Takada Gallery, San Francisco, CA
Mills College Art Museum, Oakland, CA curated by Catherine Crum
Michael Petronko Gallery, New York, NY
Ann Reed Gallery, Sun Valley, Idaho
Flora Lamson Hewlett Library, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
Richard Iri Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
Ivory/Kimpton Gallery, San Francisco, CA
Andrew Crispo Gallery, New York, NY
Kala Institute Gallery, Berkeley, CA
Susan Caldwell Gallery, New York, NY
Linda Farris Gallery, Seattle, WA
Inoue Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
Annely Juda Fine Art, London, England
William Sawyer Gallery, San Francisco, CA
Los Angeles Institute for Contemporary Art, LA, CA
John Bolles Gallery, San Francisco, CA
M. H. De Young Museum of Art, San Francisco, CA
David Cole Gallery, San Francisco

Selected Collections

Achenbauch Foundation, California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, CA
Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY
American Craft Museum, New York, NY
Auckland Museum, Aukland, New Zealand
Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY
Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati, OH
Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, CA
Des Moines Art Center, Des Moines, IA
Fondazione Georgio Cini, Venice, Italy
Fresno Art Museum, Fresno, CA
Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, IN
International Center of Aesthetic Research, Italy
Library of Congress, Washington, DC
Los Angeles County Museum, CA
Mills College Art Museum, Oakland, CA
Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
Museo di Ca’ Pesaro, Venice, Italy
Museum of Modern Art Jacksonville, Florida
National Museum of American Art, Washington, DC
The New York Public Library, New York, NY
New York University Art Collection, NY
The Oakland Museum, Oakland, CA
Palazzo Ferro Fini, Venice, Italy
Portland Art Museum, Portland, OR
San Francisco Museum of Art, CA
Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC
Southwest State University Art Museum, Marshall, MN
University Art Museum, University of California, Berkeley
University of Texas, El Paso, TX
Weisman Art Museum, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MI
Western Carolina University Fine Art Museum, Cullowhee, NC