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Art & Soul: Nancy Newman Rice

Art & Soul: Nancy Newman Rice

073120-art-Art & Soul image

Almost two decades after the fact, 9/11 continues to haunt many Americans like some hollow-eyed specter from an Edgar Allan Poe short story – as the disturbing architectural vista of Nancy Newman Rice’s Afterwards I attests.

Although now living in St. Louis’ Central West End neighborhood, Rice hails from New York City, subsequently studying at Ithaca, New York’s famed Cornell University before earning both Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of Fine Arts degrees at Washington University in St. Louis.

The creation of the 40-inch-square 2019 oil on canvas showcased here, Rice says, directly related to the horrifying Sept. 11, 2001, al-Qaida aeronautical terrorist attacks on the Big Apple and the Pentagon.

“The painting Afterwards I is part of a series that’s a response to a dystopian future altered by time and human interference,” the artist relates. “Some of the images in this work are drawn from photographs of the remaining ruins of the Twin Towers.

“Like many New Yorkers living elsewhere, I felt as if I needed to be back in my city, to add my ineffectual contribution to the collective pain.”

The painting tells the tale, mixing a relatively restrained palette with an unsettling geometric assault – a surfeit of lines of varying weight, suggesting architectural components or the reflections of such components, slashing and angling and thrusting in every direction across the picture plane.

At the bottom right corner of the painting, something reminiscent of rebar, its structural integrity compromised by hideous stress, curves upward; at its top right, meanwhile, something like sunshine lacking all redemptive power streams downward.

“My larger paintings take approximately three months to complete,” states Rice, who has earned, among manifold other honors, both a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship for painting and an Artist’s Residency Award at the venerable Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris. “Because I’m left-handed, I usually work from right to left.

“The precision of my brushstrokes requires some pressure on the surface – thus, the canvas is mounted on Sintra, a plastic substrate, which provides a hard, flat surface on which to paint. The paintings then hang in my studio for several months, which gives me the chance to make changes if needed.”

To learn more about our featured artist, visit

Metro area artists who wish to be considered for future installments of this monthly department of Ladue News should email inquiries to with “Art & Soul” in the subject line.

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Bryan A. Hollerbach serves as LN's copy editor and one of its staff writers. He loves to read, write, impersonate an amateur artist and research all things bibulous.

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