A public garden & cultural center

Nancy Blum

Flora Fantastica!
Glyndor Gallery | July 16August 27, 2017


Pictured above: Nirvana (detail), 2006, ink, colored pencil, gouache and graphite on paper. Courtesy of the artist.


Rather than alluding to an actual landscape, I combine species of plants in the same drawing that would not customarily exist together in nature. Obsessive handwork creates intricate layers of visual information to be discovered over time and, in this way, the works become a seductive meditation for the viewer. My deeper intent is to conjure the “flower” as an active, forceful agent, subverting a culturally conditioned point of view that often deems the ephemeral and the organic as less powerful and of limited value.  - Nancy Blum, artist statement

Nancy Blum has always been fascinated by plants, but began working with plant imagery about 15 years ago. She is interested in flowers as an attractor and renders them as seductive agents in a fantastic realm. She uses ink, colored pencil, gouache and graphite to make large‐scale works on paper. Her sources range from 16- and 17-century botanical images to Chinese plum blossoms and German botanicals, and she is also keenly interested in plant physiology.

Blum counteracts the dismissive notion of flowers as feminine or decorative by putting them front and center. She observes that, rather than being viewed as ephemeral, flowers are essential to plant function and thus to our own sustainability. In a conversation with scientist Dr. Eric Brenner she notes, “I believe plants have enormous intelligence and that they’ll outlive us here on earth. They supply us with many things that we need to survive. For me, the arrogance of not paying attention to this is the real crime.”  While there is an all-over sense of pattern to the “backgrounds,” the protagonist flowers appear to push toward the viewer.

Trained as a sculptor, Blum’s current practice combines large-scale works on paper with selective public art commissions, often in hospital or transportation settings. Each public project is informed by the particular location’s architecture, ecosystem and community. In the New York City area, her mosaic Floating Auriculas can been seen at the Dobbs Ferry Metro North station, an Arts for Transit commission by the Metropolitan Transit Authority. Blum notes that her Midwestern roots are an essential part of her world view. She has a BA from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, MI. 

Pictured above: Harmony, 2017, ink, colored pencil, gouache and graphite on paper, 36” x 48”

Pictured above: Nirvana, 2006, ink, colored pencil, gouache and graphite on paper, 48” x 96”

Pictured above: Billow, 2007, ink, colored pencil, gouache and graphite on paper, 48” x 36”

All works courtesy of the artist

Learn more about the artist here

The Arts at Wave Hill are supported by the Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Inc.; Michael J. Shannon; Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation; the National Endowment for the Arts; New York City Department of Cultural Affairs; New York Community Trust Edward and Sally Van Lier Fund; New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; The Pollock-Krasner Foundation; The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation; and by the Cathy and Stephen Weinroth Commissioning Fund for the Arts.