Nan Hockenbury: Myths of Creation

November 17, 2015--January 17, 2016

"From the Seeds Grew the Trees and Grass and Life on Earth had Begun,"
from the series The Story of Sky Woman, An Iroquois Legend; oil on canvas

D'où Venons Nous
Que Sommes Nous
Où Allons Nous
(Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?)
— Title inscription on the painting by Paul Gauguin. 1898, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Stories describing how the world came to be have fulfilled a foundational role for nearly every culture in human history. Myths have helped people understand their place in the scheme of things, give meaning and purpose to life, and satisfy a yearning for awe and mystery.

Mythic references as allegory, symbolism, and signifiers of cultural identity and tradition are seen throughout art history. Greek and Roman Mythology have exerted profound influences on western art and literature, as the respective myths of other cultures have similarly done.

Painter Nan Hockenbury, working at the Western Avenue Studios in Lowell, is engaged in an on-going project addressing Creation stories from cultures around the world. Each of the chosen stories is presented as a series of Abstract paintings based on her interpretation of the narrative and it’s meanings. She explains, “My stories are expressive not figurative narratives. Like those of the original storytellers, they are based on actions that have been imagined not seen. Although each of the six story panels functions as an important part of the plot, my aim was to make each one an individual able to show on its own.”

A graduate of the Museum School with a concentration in Feminism and Women’s Art History, Nan’s story paintings are imbued with a uniquely Feminist point of view. She cites Poet Robert Graves and his writings on Mythology as an influence. One can argue, and many do, about Graves’ interpretations of his subject matter and it’s relationship to Feminist thought. Nevertheless, I find the work ambitious, thought provoking, and beautiful. Hope you enjoy.

"Freya Magic: Power," from the series Six Attributes of FREYA, A Norse Goddess;
house paint, acrylic, flash on canvas

We are pleased to be a participant in the Groton Art Walk on Saturday, December 5, 12:30 - 5:00 pm. All are welcome.

This exhibit is made possible by the Groton Public Library Endowment Trust.

Ken Hansen,