Artists Live featuring Nan Runde

October 14, 2017 / Mary Kee

   Artists Live is a visual arts program, which features award-winning Connecticut artists in month-long exhibitions starting the first Friday of each month from March through December except for August throughout 2017. It will take place at 23 Royce Circle in downtown Storrs, Connecticut. Each participating Artist, will be “live” the final Friday of their month of exhibition for an artist discussion with Kathleen Zimmerman at 5 pm followed by a reception at 6 pm, which is open and free to the public. Kathleen partnered with the Mansfield Downtown Partnership and were jointly awarded the State of Connecticut’s Office of the Arts Regional Arts Grant to create this program. Nan Runde is the eighth of ten artists chosen for the program. Her exhibition started October 6th and will be continue until October 27th when she will have her artist discussion.

Nan Runde’s meticulous graphite and colored-pencil drawings are visual musings on the strangers that move in the periphery of our vision. The people whose eyes meet ours only for a moment, those we view from a distance perhaps with suspicion or unexamined assumptions and also the non-human creatures that may collectively comprise the backdrop of our lives until we look one in the eye. Such moments are the basis for her drawings.

Because each drawing evolves slowly through countless layers, creating it is as much meditation as a process of portrayal. Nan’s series began with birds, which fascinate her as ancient symbols for human potentialities and as living creatures both vulnerable and vital. As familiar as the face in the mirror, a bird at the same time profoundly “other” possesses an essential “unknowability” of the stranger. It is a reminder that all people, all beings to some extent, remain strangers no matter how well we think we know them. Whether encountered in passing and never seen again or a part of one’s daily life so familiar as to become virtually invisible, another being hides inexpressible depths.

Yet it is those depths that haunt Nan as she works. Far from a blank wall, the face of a stranger offers a window, however blurry, into another being, another story. The countless hours spent building up the texture and subtleties of a face or feathers afford Nan a paradoxical sense of intimacy with the unknowable and at the same time a sculptural experience of the two-dimensional. If we can’t know the stranger, Nan’s drawings insist at least that we try. That we look long enough and deeply enough to care about those we cannot fully know.


For more information about the artists check out their websites:

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