“Turner has been called a “time traveler’ because she uses art to explore the passage of time. In Lethe: River of Forgetting, she engages memories –both hers and those of others– to evoke the past and invite us to re-engage it through art. Because she uses photography extensively, Turner’s wall installations can be thought of as photographic memory books that have been taken apart and splayed onto the wall. Her edges are ripped and torn, creating irregular linear undulations. And her layered paper images are partial and discontinuous, like memories.”
– Betty Brown
Forgotten and Found: Nancy Kay Turner’s Aesthetic Retrieval of the Lost and Abandoned
Next to her piece is a series of conjoined and delicate works from Nancy Kay Turner, Lethe: River of Forgetting (2023). Despite the title, her mixed media on parchment scrolls are not only memorable but evoke the idea of memory, as does her “Ghosts and Unintended Consequences Series,” offering mixed media including found photographs on wood panel. At the base of both series, which form a primarily blue, white, and brown nexus on the center wall, is Pilgrimage (2023), 28 vintage shoe lasts which evoke the fallen or the forgotten. It is a haunting, massive series of works that fits together like pieces of the same , heart-rendering puzzle.
In producing her evocative sepia toned two-dimensional collages, Nancy Kay Turner incorporates a menu of diverse media and materials, including bread residue, lace, parchment, animal skeletons and staples, rendering a compelling vintage effect. On some level, Memories of Tomorrow’s Sunrise is about layering – both figuratively and literally. Materials, often unconventional, are layered with metaphoric reference to time. This is a careful complication of works connected by family, heredity, tradition, loss and layers of time. For what are memories if not layers of time?
– Megan Frances
Nancy Kay Turner’s Burnt Offerings (2020–2022) is a both beautiful and mysterious durational piece. The piece presents the aftermath of baking bread as evocative of those impressions left behind by past actions. Process becomes practice as bread, baking, burning and nourishment are called to mind and recall the religious practice of sacrificial offering.
Nancy Kay Turner’s The Pursuit of Shadows is an altar with individual components, a scavenged and repurposed small world which includes a Ouija board and a shoe form, seemingly indicative of a post-dystopian world, in which our present is a memory.
– Genie Davis
My two and three-dimensional mixed–media works incorporate text and image while exploring the intersection of memory and identity. My work–which mediates between past, present and future, examines the mysterious way objects retain remembrance, how fragments can suggest an entire story, and how we have a fickle relationship to our own history.