A special collection of work by the late Nancy Goldstein is being presented at the Ranger Station in Harrison next month.
was born in 1936 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, into an artistic family. She studied drawing and painting at the Carnegie Art Institute, University of California, Berkley and received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Minnesota. In 1962, she moved to New York City to work as a copywriter for John Wiley & Sons publishing company, working her way up to being Creative Director. In 1973 she began painting full time and went on to study contemporary and advanced painting with artists George Peters and Harriet FeBland in New York through 1987.
Nancy’s family were all brilliant intellectuals, yet they could all be extremely soft and gentle. Her father, Walter Connor, was a painter and brother Walter Connor’s artistic focus was sculpture. Both Walter and Walter Connor Jr.’s work will be represented alongside a collection of Nancy’s paintings in the upcoming retrospective exhibition at the Ranger Station Art Gallery.
The work that Nancy created in New York was large, abstract and symbolic. It evolved through many forms, from mandalas, chakras to three dimensional constructions and sacred geometry. She was tireless in her research, and her collection of books was diverse and extensive. Consistent in her work was the desire to touch on some aspect of the human struggle to, in her own words, “know wholeness.” She often made sketches and notes, taking the written word and ideas from art or scientific history while questioning it, pulling it apart to make it her own.
She was ever questioning, turning those questions into creative source work, then into paintings which, as Will Grant from Artspeak in New York stated, were “paintings out of their expected context” and that contained “their own wholeness, their own integrity.”
After a creatively full life in the New York, exhibiting in commercial galleries and selling dozens of paintings, and after her husband Jack had retired, Nancy and Jack moved full time to the West Coast in 1996 to be close to their daughter, one of three children, and their grandchildren.
Shortly after moving, Jack and Nancy spent a weekend at the Harrison Hot Springs Resort and fell in love with the town and its surroundings. It was a rainy weekend and as the couple drove into the village they saw two rainbows over the lake and mountainside. They took those rainbows as a sign and followed them out to the east side of the lake. Two days later they bought a house on Rockwell Drive where they lived in Harrison part time for all of Nancy’s remaining years.
Jack and Nancy spent as much time in Harrison as they could. It became their special place of retreat. The place was very important to Nancy. In fact, says husband Jack, she saw Harrison as her ‘true home’. She was completely comfortable and inspired by the natural beauty and peacefulness of Harrison Hot Springs, which came to inform her work in many ways. She also appreciated the work of the Kent Harrison Arts Council, says Jack, and very much liked the people who ran the Ranger Station Art Gallery where she showed her paintings on several occasions.
“Nancy was meticulous as an artist. She would sit in front of a blank canvas on an easel for hours, days sometimes, waiting for inspiration,” recalls Jack. She also studied ancient religious symbols, particularly Tibetan mandalas and other deeply spiritual themes. She kept to a regular routine, getting up in the morning, meditating and doing her exercises. She needed to spend time alone and to work things out internally, as an artist and a person. This routine all served to inspire her life as an artist, a friend, a mother and grandmother.
“You had her for a friend, you had a friend for life,” Jack recollects fondly. She guided and mentored various artist friends, and practiced art with her grandchildren.
Nancy had other talents, too. She could design houses and their interiors, and was an artist in the garden. She also loved to sing. She was part of the San Francisco Symphony Choir and various other choral groups. They did a great deal of singing in the Goldstein family, and one of the sons is now a musician.
When Nancy became ill with cancer, she underwent several bouts of treatment. After she had had enough of the treatments she decided she wanted to pass away in her home in Harrison. She expressed delight and gratitude for the nursing care she received in Canada.
“She was an emotionally and spiritually sturdy person. She never complained,” recollects Jack when asked about Nancy’s life. Her three children were able to be with her during this time and Nancy passed away peacefully in 2010.
Through the generosity of Jack Goldstein, The Kent Harrison Arts Council and Ranger Station Art Gallery is proud to present the works for Nancy Goldstein in an exhibition from Saturday, Dec. 1 through to Jan. 29, with the catered opening reception on Sunday, Dec. 2 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Everyone is invited to attend.
Submitted by Siobhan Humston and Rebecca Schram