Hughes Gallery, Inc. | P.O. Box 35, 333 Park Ave.
Boca Grande, FL. 33921 | 941-964-4273 | Email | Facebook

Nancy Wagstaff


Basic Lodging Born in 1950, Nancy Wagstaff earned her BA in art from the University of California at Davis, studied illustration at the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles, and worked approximately 22 years as a free-lance package designer/illustrator. For the last fifteen years, Nancy has pursued fine art, taking numerous classes and workshops with an emphasis on figure drawing and oil painting. She has exhibited at the Los Gatos Museums Gallery in Los Gatos CA, numerous juried shows in California and Texas and in the Oil Painters of America National Exhibition in 2010, 2012, and 2013. She is a member of the California Art Club and the Oil Painters of America. Her travels into the backcountry of the Sierras, the high desert of Oregon, and road trips to remote and emptier parts of the West are the source and inspiration for her paintings. She resides in California.

Artist's Statement

My work calls to me from a sense of our shared experiences as Americans. By this I mean a rusting 1954 Ford, an unoccupied metal lawn chair, a vacant boarding house, or an abandoned bus. When I look at these objects, I am struck with a sense that they are waiting, expecting, even as they are receding in the rear view mirror of time. My work is inspired by long ago road trips, the story residing in the cast-off, and the lonely beauty of the American West. It is about the dignity of solitude, of waiting for the next thing when the past is still present, and of the horizon that is both outside and inside each of us.

Barbara's Statement

If I'd read the (above) statement, I would have contacted Nancy immediately, with an invitation to join our gallery. Alas, I did not. No, I was way too involved with looking at the works of this highly talented artist. Her images captivated me, instantly. These are things I know – that metal "bouncy" chair, and others of its tribe, sat around a towering oak at my grandfather's farm, down by the steam, which cut through the field where he kept the cows. Joy was unbounded when I bounced in those chairs!

I remember that 1954 Ford. My brother, or one of his friends, owned that Ford…I'll bet you did, too; or someone you knew. Doncha wish you still had it - or that '55 Chevy?

The signs are especially wonderful. I may not have seen the Blue Rock Inn, but I recall the Dew Drop Inn (or was it Do Drop Inn?). It doesn't matter. The old signs Nancy scouts and paints, those abandoned beauties, still yank me back to the realization that character does count. It may not be beautiful, as our contemporary advertisers and pundits define the word, but it is beautiful. In a world filled with what looks like cloned culture, those signs scream, "Look at me! I'm unique! I’m special! I'm rare and one of a kind!" And, they are.

Having grown up in the Midwest, I recognize the grain elevators and silos: the quiet, haunting images I took for granted when growing up and when I turned my head, were gone. Forgotten? Not entirely.

Nancy Wagstaff called to me on several levels. First, she's one heck of a painter: a little Hopper, a little Register and a whole lot Californian. There's a long, fine history in the state of California, when it comes to art. Edgar Payne, Granville Redmond, Franz Bischoff, William Wendt, and all the others who went before, arrived after, lived in or visited the state, have left their imprint on the consciousness of the artists. How wonderful…and, cool. (ie: excellent)

Second, I couldn't look away. No, that lone wagon or trike: that graffitied (yes, I'm using graffiti as a verb) freight car, that local ice cream shop, which was so perfect for our small town, that rusted car or bus or train – just sitting, there, in the meadow…waiting for an artist to see and paint it: these are enough for me, more than enough, for me to contact Nancy Wagstaff.

Third, she paints these objects - these once-used-now-forgotten utilitarian things, which helped define our childhoods, our generation, our parent's adulthoods and our post-war American culture so well – with affection, with more than simply a nod to our past; she paints them with acknowledgement - with honesty. She's the real deal. There's nothing contrived about Nancy's work. It possesses substance, it's authentic to the core, it’s charming, moving. These are powerful, evocative images, done in true the California 'style' I so admire, so love and would recognize a Tennessee mile away, that I couldn't wait to begin some kind of communication with this artist! We're thrilled to introduce her to you.

Basic Lodging
Basic Lodging
Desert Winds
Desert Winds
Gas Station Blues
Gas Station Blues
Golden Years
Golden Years
Beached
Beached
Chevy Styleline
Chevy Styleline
Chimayo Christmas
Chimayo
Christmas
Hoping for a Signal
Hoping for
a Signal
Hydrant
Hydrant
New American Gothic
New American
Gothic
The Guardians
The Guardians
Western Water Tower
Western
Water Tower

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Hughes Gallery, Inc. | P.O. Box 35, 333 Park Ave.
Boca Grande, FL. 33921 | 941-964-4273 | Email | Facebook