Nancy Shaver – The Inspiration in Challenge


"Material Excess" - 1994

Contemporary art tends to raise a lot of questions in my mind. Sometimes I'm not sure if it stretches my perceptions and understanding of art. With that being said I seem to keep coming back!

Plaster Casts - Red, Black/White

I came across Nancy Shaver in a list of artists from a show Dime-Store Alchemy at the FLAG Art Foundation.

Tapestry #3 2018 Derek Eller Gallery NYC

In this installation called "Tapestry" there's a beautiful dance of simplicity and complexity. The installation is constructed of numerous smaller works. The sculptural forms are created using found objects, fabric, paint and wood. In an interview I read by Ann Lauterbach, Click here for interview Shaver's interest in challenge and difficulty is mentioned. In working with the fabric covered blocks Shaver admits to being inspired by the "economy and size" with an affinity for the "not quite" aspect of the imperfect wood squares while aiming for a sense of precision with the materials she had. As an artist I can relate to that aspect of creativity and problem solving. In looking through a body of Shaver's work I got the feeling that she is building something. Everything has a sense of juxtaposition and purpose if you will.

The Argument 1989

Her assemblages and use of old frames, fabric covered wood blocks and other artifacts convey a sense of nostalgia as well. In each arrangement it feels as though containers are being constructed to communicate about the past and present. The vase motif pictured earlier, presents itself in a variety of pieces. At first I didn't see its relevance within the larger context of her work, but then I saw it as another container. It didn't need much more explanation from that point.

Flannel #1

The artists use of textures, pattern and color ignite the child within me. The fabric squares in particular seem reflective of the comfort an old patchwork quilt might provide. They are sort of hard to stop looking at! I noticed in some of her work a reference to home. I am left wondering if that's not what she has been building over the course of her creative career. To see and learn more visit her website:


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