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Ancient-inspired abstract works by Blowing Rock, North Carolina, artist Nancy Brittelle now on display at William King Museum of Art
Icons of an Ancient Future

Ancient-inspired abstract works by Blowing Rock, North Carolina, artist Nancy Brittelle now on display at William King Museum of Art

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Nancy Brittelle

Nancy Brittelle, an artist from Blowing Rock, North Carolina, is now displaying her ancient-inspired abstract works at the William King Museum of Art in Abingdon, Virginia.

ABINGDON, Va. — Nancy Brittelle wants you to explore her “Icons of an Ancient Future.”

That’s now on display at the William King Museum of Art in Abingdon through Aug. 29 in the Panoramic Gallery.

“My most recent work emerges from memories of traveling to ancient sites in Greece, Italy, France and Mexico,” the artist said.

“Armor and weaponry thousands of years old, statues of gods and goddesses, the heavily gilded surfaces and icons of the Greek Orthodox churches, Mayan temples and carvings,” she said.

“In seeking to express the ancient world in modern terms, I create indoor sculpture made of repurposed paper packaging materials which call forth our connection with our ancestors,” she said. “Are these sculptures a thousand years old or a thousand years in the future?”

Brittelle was born in 1949 in Bayshore, New York, and grew up in central New Jersey.

She began painting in 1995 and within a year was asked to begin showing in galleries.

After 10 years as a realistic painter, her work began to increasingly feature abstract, expressionistic forms and subject matter.

While driving one afternoon, she spotted a cardboard box lying beside the road which was becoming disfigured in the rain, and was struck by its beauty.

Upon returning home, she retrieved a box from her garage, set it out on the deck in the rain and replicated the process.

After bringing the box back into her studio and reshaping it, she then glued it together and painted it with acrylic paint.

Icon X by Nancy Brittelle

"Icon X" by Nancy Brittelle

This process of reformed deconstruction is now a primary feature in her work, taking the form of wall and free-standing sculptures.

Today, the artist lives and works in Blowing Rock, North Carolina — little more than an hour from Abingdon.

Here, at the William King Museum of Art, the artist has found a fan in Anna Buchanan.

“I like the coalescence of the past and present,” said Buchanan, the museum’s curator of contemporary fine art.

“Her work feels mysterious,” Buchanan said. “It’s like the viewer is meant to stand in front of her work and find ancient answers and future questions.”

Buchanan, 26, says the show would be appreciated by anybody.

“There’s a beauty to it,” Buchanan said. “I should say the work is beautiful, but it also makes you think.”

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