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 Nanci Blair Closson  (1943 - )

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Lived/Active: Arizona/North Carolina      Known for: abstract expression

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Ad Code: 4
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
Painting of Flowers
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
Biography from American Design Ltd.:

Nanci Blair Closson has a constant need for challenge and experimentation.  As a result, she is always searching for new means of expressing herself through her art. Although she is best-known as an abstract watercolorist, Closson states that she has "a strong urge to break away from the two-dimensional, with a combination of materials--wood, clay, papers, material--and go beyond the illusion of three dimensions on a flat surface." She is now somewhere in between, she says, with constructions that are often raised and layered.

Called "layered watercolors," Closson's works make use of rag mattboard and torn papers to create landscapes.  She first paints the various pieces, then shapes them, and finally applies them--using collage techniques--to form patterned three-dimensional works that, she describes, have a firm symbolic and subconsciously controlled structure. "What I have experienced in nature is a broad source from which I draw, but surprisingly, what I put down visually does symbolize and parallel abstractly my inner self, the spiritual part of me."

Born in Durham, North Carolina, Closson grew up on a farm in Indiana. Because hers was a fairly isolated childhood, Closson used her imagination to occupy her time, gathering anything she could find--burlap feedsacks, chicken feathers, stones, and tomato stakes--as artist's tools. "I arranged, rearranged, created, and recreated various environments in the chicken coop, the cornshed, barn, and hay loft," she recalls. When playing Tarzan, she colored on sheets to simulate leopard and tiger skins, draped them around herself and, armed with a whittled bean pole spear, wandered barefoot to the jungle woods.

Closson took her artistic inclinations to Purdue University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree.  Later, while living for thee years in Panama and the Canal Zone, where her husband was stationed with the U.S. Army, Closson found an immediate and receptive market for her work.  "For two years," she says, "I sold everything I painted, had several one-woman shows, and won awards in juried exhibitions.  Overnight, a full-time career was launched, and though circumstances would change from being 'a big fish in a little pond,' after returning to the States, I was hooked on art, having experienced the sweet smell of success.

Closson purposely varies her styles and techniques: hard-edged watercolors are spliced with hazy, floating forms; bold, textured abstracts in acrylic sweep across large canvases; batik-like characteristics define still other realistic landscapes.  Once partial to grays, blues, and browns, Closson's palette now consists of the bright colors of the Southwest.  "Although subtlety remains characteristic of my work, she explains, "the color has more vibrancy now."

Closson is listed in Who's Who in American Art and is a member of the prestigious American Watercolor Society, the Audubon Artists, the National Watercolor Society, and several other professional organizations.  Her works have been included in watercolor exhibitions throughout the country, and have been featured in two books: Master Class in Watercolor and Watercolor, The Creative Experience.

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