Day #5 of What’s in My Drawers.

Encaustic, nails, and collage on wood sculpture by NanciHersh

Burnt Offering,
encaustic, nails, collage on wood.
12″ x 12″ x 1″

Burnt Offering is from my Targets series. These mixed media wood constructions were a spinoff from a piece I created in 2002 titled Women’s Work. It was exhibited, selected for the exhibition postcard, and sold, at the 47th Annual National Juried Print Exhibition at the Hunterdon Museum of Art in New Jersey.

Womens Work on Postcard ©NanciHersh

Postcard from 47th Annual National Juried Print Exhibition
Hunterdon Museum of Art
with Women’s Work

The print was in response to a garage sale find; a Better Homes and Gardens book from the 60’s. This book featured illustrations of women dressed in skirts, blouses and pearls as they were doing “women’s work;” using pesticides to keep their roses and other plants, beautiful. The irony of using harmful substances in a time before any public awareness to the dangers of these chemicals, and the fact that these showed women all looked so well kept, prim and proper. In addition to the light purple concentric circles that look like targets, I also applied ink to an iron I had acquired, stamping patterns of mounds or doorways that hover between the foreground and backgrounds of the piece, with oversized insects in the midst.

Ironically, I was diagnosed with breast cancer right in the midst of creating the piece.

My first sculptural targets began as smooth, perfectly round pine board. It wasn’t until later, when our then next door neighbor “Nana Lola” came to my studio with a piece of a cross section from a tree that her husband Sig had cut in their yard which she thought I could use for my art. I appreciated the beauty of the tree’s rings and scars from being cut down and recognized that these unique sections are more representative of our experiences as women of the trauma and scars our bodies face.

And I have to say there was joy in making these Targets.  This piece was created after a plastic floral placemat was “cooked” in the oven drawer while using the “self cleaning” over feature!  Life is messy, painful- but still beautiful.

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