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Holland Cotter

Art in Review


The New York Times


Friday, February 4, 2000

Nancy Azara at Donahue/Sosinski Gallery

Nancy Azara has been carving large-scale wood sculptures, often incorporating natural and anatomical forms, for decades.  The results have rarely coincided with local fashion, though in the expanded international context of contemporary art her spiritually infused work looks increasingly at home.


Heart Wall, the large installation in the show, is made up of some two dozen upright cut slabs and tree trunks, their surfaces feathered with chisel marks and carved with pictographs and hollow niches.  Covered in gold and aluminum leaf and accented with vermilion, they have a Byzantine or South Asian splendor.


Nancy Azara, Heart Wall

A similar sense of human-scale monumentality comes across in an accordian-style wooden book, a collaboration with the poet Judith Barrington.  Ms. Barrington's emotionally measured writing and Ms. Azara's simple emblems of handprints and footprints, of a kind familiar from Tibetan Buddhist paintings, are well matched.  Neither ironic nor guileless, they make vulnerability seem like a considered choice.

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