COLD WATER and MILLICENT at Gallery A3 in May
In COLD WATER and MILLICENT, Nancy Meagher presents oil paintings of water and color pencil drawings from her historical fiction book for children, featuring a fish named Millicent.
Unearthing older paintings—some from at least four years ago—Nancy Meagher breathes fresh life, new vision, and an evolved wisdom into large-scale, luminous works of art, some stretching four by three feet. With images of Puffers Pond and Leverett Pond, favorite haunts for the past ten years, the cold water and deep shadows beg us to search for the perfect place to enter the painting. Using rich oil pigments, a variety of stiff and razor-edged palette knives, and a large paint brush inherited from a recently passed dear friend, Meagher moves boldly into abstraction. She builds up many layers with paint that is coarsely applied, carved, and striated.
Meagher isn’t looking for “pretty paintings” in COLD WATER. Deep blues and moody greens meet hopeful yellows and oranges, revealed when the artist “cuts” into years of crusty and hardened layers of paint.
With MILLICENT, Meagher lures us across the Connecticut River to Northampton, and invites us to swim not only upstream, but also back in time to the year 1874. In her historical fiction story book for children, Millicent and the Day it Rained Buttons, a Mill River Fish Tale, a spotted fish learns to love the “skin she’s in” and, with the help of two real-life Mill River Button Company girls, teaches about the tragedy of the Williamsburg Dam Flood.
A passionate storyteller, Meagher envisions “the past” everywhere and that gives “daily-life” its energy. A shallow pond “runs deep” because the Earth is ancient. “I feel that energy everywhere,” the artist explains. Celebrating the "cold water of life with a splash," Meagher revives some of her older paintings and, in her new non-fiction book, revisits the lives of two mill girls from Northampton's past.
Art Forum Online
In an Art Forum Online on Thursday, May 19 at 7:30 pm, John Sinton, local author and historian, will speak about the construction of the Williamsburg Reservoir and Dam in 1866, and Meagher will discuss her artwork, read excerpts from Millicent and the Day It Rained Buttons, screen a short video based on the book, and welcome questions from the audience. Register here for this online event, which is free and open to the public. This program is supported in part by a grant from the Amherst Cultural Council, a local agency, which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.