By Lilly Wei
Nancy Azara’s poetic Third Moon is the most recent edition to what might be called a trilogy, at least so far, more might be coming. It is visually and conceptually related to two earlier works, Dawn/Light and Leaf Altar for Nunzia (1913-2004). The latter two are memorials, as is this one, although each in its own way. When Azara made Third Moon, she was thinking of Plato’s Allegory
of the Cave, an interrogation of the nature of illusion and reality, of shadows mistaken for substance.
Enveloped by a soft nocturnal radiance created by applying white paint over aluminum leaf in combination with encaustic and a touch of color, the nearly monochromatic silver and rose of Third Moon—the same as Dawn/Light and Leaf Altar—is a further instance of what has lately become her palette of choice. The support, a seven-foot square panel, is of wood and slightly larger than life but not intimidatingly so, the surface delicately carved with images of leaves, branches
and pods to create an all-over pattern.
Parts of it are more deeply incised than others, resulting in a flickered effect as light plays across the surface. To this low relief, lopped sections of different kinds of tree branches, arranged vertically, are attached for contrast. Together they present a dialectical meditation in which negative contends with positive form, fragments with the whole, reality with ghost images, reflections, memories, and dreams, and the past intersects the present.