Nancy Blum

On first look, the flowers that are the primary subject of Nancy Blum’s work are reassuringly familiar. But look for a few moments, and you begin to notice that things are not what they seem. Within her botanical drawings, Nancy uses icons like a drawing of a plum blossom strongly outlined in black ink and shadowy spirographs that mimic the shape of a flower and also evoke the space age. The flowers in her drawings do not live side by side in the physical world, yet in her work their are intimately intertwined. They are botanical superheroes with agency and power without relation to human beings - we are not a part of their world. These plants carry on joyfully without us, a situation that is oddly comforting. The riotous energy that is barely contained in Nancy’s detailed wonderlands doesn’t depend on us. 

Nancy Blum, New Work, guest curated by Ashley Kistler, is on view at Reynolds Gallery through December 22nd.

When I started to draw again, I decided I wanted my studio practice to be simpler, more straightforward, and something that gave me joy. . . . The thing that was most natural to me as a child was drawing, and those drawings were pattern. I think that’s my first language - abstraction. But I don’t think I had the confidence that I could communicate something that was true and real directly through abstraction. When your in front of an abstract piece, you can like the color, you can like the feel of it - it’s color, it’s materiality, it’s fun. But when you’re in front of a real abstract piece that is a work of art - you know, you’re standing in front of a Rothko and it’s a good Rothko, it’s transportive. . . . There is something happening that is deeply relational. I didn’t feel like I could work in abstraction until I understood abstraction.
— Nancy Blum

Paige hosts the LookSEE podcast and is a freelance audio producer, an art lover, and a lifelong Richmonder. Her favorite place to be is in a museum. A close second is a bookstore.