nan ring

Nan Ring makes art about singular moments of life with an intentionally varied approach to address questions about uncertainty and transience.

Nan has been the recipient of numerous grants and awards for her fine art, such as the Vermont Studio Center Artist’s Fellowship Award in Painting, the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation/NEA Fellowship Award in Works on Paper, and a New York Foundation for the Arts Artists’ Fellowship Award in Drawing. She has been awarded artist-in-residence fellowships and studios at Brush Creek Foundation, WY, chaNorth, NY, Djerrassi, CA, the Montalvo Center for the Arts, CA, and The Vermont Studio Center, VT. Her paintings and drawings have been exhibited at The Visual Arts Center, Summit NJ, most recently in the 25th Silver Anniversary Juried Exhibit where she won an honorable mention in Painting, at The Drawing Center, New York, N.Y., The Hudson River Museum, Yonkers, N.Y., Gallery Henoch, New York, N.Y., and P.S. 122 Gallery, New York, N.Y., among others. Her recent solo exhibition at the New Jersey Arts Incubator in West Orange, NJ, garnered an enthusiastic review from Dan Bischoff in the Star Ledger. Her work is included in prominent public collections such as Prudential Insurance, Coca Cola, Phillip Morris, and others.

Nan is also a former pastry chef who supported her painting career for several years in Manhattan’s two and three-star restaurants. She chronicled some of these experiences in her critically acclaimed memoir, Walking On Walnuts , Bantam, 1996, filled with thirteen of her drawings, (national media, regional bestseller.) On her book tour, she appeared on many television and radio shows and lectured at the Smithsonian Institute, Washington D.C.

Nan earned her MFA in Painting from The University of the Arts, Philadelphia, Pa., where she was nominated for the Robert Motherwell Foundation Dedalus Award in Painting, and is a graduate cum laude of Syracuse University School of Visual and Performing Arts. Nan is the co-creator and artist for the blog, Old recipes, Modern Life. A transplanted Manhattanite, she lives in northern New Jersey with her fifteen-year-old son.

I’m drawn to the small, intimate moment, and think of myself artistically as an “intimist,” an apt title coined for me by a fellow artist. I think of my art as containers for metaphor, and am most satisfied with poetic vision rather than literal interpretations. My work is concept driven and varied in intent, style, and medium to address questions of uncertainty and transience. All of my work has a strong connection to poetry. I’m fascinated by the way that a poem resists the reader, creating multiple layers of meaning. I like a poem’s economy of language, and the way a poem’s meaning evolves for the reader as the reader evolves. Evoking a strong connection between written and visual language, many of my works are meant to be read like poems, with the viewer bringing his or her own narrative to the piece.

What is important for me about handmade representational art is the layer of human experience and the imprint of the individual that is embedded in the work – the hours of still, patient focus and close observation that are essential to the finished piece. I first experienced this appreciation of the handmade from makers in my family, particularly the women who knitted, tatted, crocheted, embroidered, baked and cooked, taking their time to make fine handmade objects. There was always domestic ritual around the making; table linens, sweaters, blankets, and pastries that all bore the print of the maker and the obvious signs of hours and hours of careful, patient craft. Even the recipes, handed down, were handwritten, with the fingerprints and notations of the baker preserved as a valued part of the inheritance. I grew up on stories of strong ancestors who survived hardships with imagination and persistence, tools that as an artist I count among my most essential.