2023, 120″ x 214″, ink dyed wax paper, gold leaf, rose glitter, spray and collage.
“Turner’s recent installation Kokytus: River of Lamentation, 2023, 120″ x 214″, ink dyed wax paper, gold leaf, rose glitter spray and collage is case in point. As if echoing the German concept of ‘Gesamtkunstwerk,’ where various art forms are combined to create a single cohesive whole, Kokytus: River of Lamentation provides both the theatrical backdrop and protagonists of its own narrative… Turner subjects found materials to the outdoor elements and time, periodically adding material to the brew as if the artist has become a chemist or a winemaker. The result of this process is a strikingly consistent patina of time running through the work, as if each material were a worn yet cherished object.”
– Michael Hilsman
2023, 108″ x 72″, ink dyed paper, silver leaf, vintage photographs, jewelry, feathers, staples, dyed cardboard, diamond dust, pins, tea bags. (Size Variable)
“In this work individual parts which read as chunks of obsidian are mounted on the wall in a manner reminiscent of the big bang, with objects in space expanding outward toward the unknown. In these works, object themselves are broken into parts of wholes, other times Turner deconstructs one artwork to make fodder for the next. Overall, there is a sense that Turner’s entire body of work is a living breathing entity and no matter how much it is broken down and re-formed it maintains a life of its own.”
– Michael Hilsman
“Nancy Kay Turner’s use of unusual – yet often mundane – materials belies the fact that her works are encompassingly evocative, enchanting the viewer with their complexity and poetry. Using materials as prosaic as ordinary wax paper and crumpled journal pages, antique wooden shoe forms and vintage photographs, feathers, and pins and a dusting of silver leaf or curve of gold she creates startlingly immersive, riveting work such as ‘The Secret Life of Shards.'”
– Genie Davis
2023, wooden jewelry box, tin type, fossils, wood children’s shoe lasts, black beaded mourning cloth, bible (circa 1880), two adult vintage shoe lasts. (Size Variable)
“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.