Nancy Newton

Artist Statement

Over the years, inspiration for my painting has come from spending time in dramatic Canadian landscapes and visually rich environments.  The use of gestural mark-making and the influence of music are prominent in my work and weave in and out of my interpretative, contemporary landscapes.
A decade ago, I consciously attempted to capture the idea of walking through the landscape.  The picture plane was broken up with fragmented collage elements, Japanese paper and discarded “marked” paper.  The energy of my gesture in concert with the collage elements suggested movement akin to “visual jazz”.

This development moved to a logical conclusion in 2012.  After attending a concert, I challenged myself to interpret what I had heard.  Could sound passages be visualized?  Could the essence of the musical composition be captured on a two or three dimensional surface?  The exploration of these questions evolved into monochromatic interpretations of sounds using India ink on paper, black and white acrylic paint on canvas and ceramic forms.  This restricted palette focused on the sound’s pitch, dynamics, texture and rhythm. It was akin to the clarity and contrast of a wolf’s howl into the darkness. 

The visual mark and the auditory sound are both primordial expressions capable of connecting deeply to the soul.  Individually they provide a common language, which allow all cultures to respond.  Together they become a powerful means of communicating that viewers and listeners can interpret, within the context of their own experience.  My idea of exploring twenty minutes of music has been an interesting investigation of how sound can be represented visually.  Dream-e-scape continues to inspire and inform my work.

Nancy Newton

Sound Space

The drawings and paintings of “Sound Space” visually explore the intriguing musical sequences of R. Murray Schafer’s recent composition entitled “Dream-e-scape”.

In the beginning of this auditory exploration, intentionally listening to the sounds and silences over and over again while responding with gestural marks provided a visual reference for later development. The music entrains the body and influences the energy of the mark making, guided by pitch, tempo, volume and dynamics.

Earlier study and response to Schafer’s work, Miniwanka – Moments of Water, Epitaph for Moonlight and others, reinforced the possibilities of visually interpreting “Dream-e-scape” when I first heard it performed at Koerner Hall in Toronto.

Historically my work has involved a gestural depiction of space within the context of dramatic landscapes associated with the sublime. This body of work marks the beginning of my exploration into another visual realm. Creating a sense of volume and space, informed by the juxtaposition of sounds, has allowed me to open up other possibilities in my work.

Nancy Newton