Title: Flight of the Bumblebee
(title borrowed from the Rimsky-Korsakov orchestral composition)
Dimensions: 8” x 7” x 6.25”h
Medium: Stoneware, underglaze
Date Made: March–June 2019
Retail Price: Sculpture, $175; with MP3 player, speakers and plinth, $225.
Artist’s Statement (meaning/inspiration, etc.): Bumblebees are the soundtrack of my gardening life, and Flight of the Bumblebee also comes with a soundtrack. In the early spring the garden hums with monstrous solitary queens searching out nesting sites. Through the summer their progeny keep the garden buzzing. The sound zooms in, then fades with distance as they pursue a course that looks erratic to me. The buzzing can stop mid-vibration if the bee chooses to land on a flower. I relish the bumblebees’ song. I salute them for knowing what they are doing, even if I don’t. This piece required inventive props to keep the loops aerial and spaced above each other during bisque- and glaze-temperature firings.
Title: Float Like a Butterfly, Sting Like a Bee —Muhammad Ali
Dimensions: Bee glove 14.5” x 8.5” x 5.5”; plain glove 13” x 8 5” x 5”
Medium: Stoneware, acrylic paint, mixed media
Date Made: March–June 2019
Retail Price: $800 the pair
Artist’s Statement (meaning/inspiration, etc.):
I admire Muhammad Ali. He revolutionized boxing, but also, speaking powerfully from a position of power, asked why Black people should fight for the U.S. in Vietnam when they were ill-treated at home. As YouTube videos of Ali’s fights show, his winning style truly fitted his boastful slogan. This sculpture memorializes the butterfly/bee quote in a solid medium in a literal way. The gloves are modeled on the gloves Ali wore in 1964 to defeat then World Champion Sonny Liston for the title. It was in the run-up to that fight that he coined his famous phrase.
The gloves are heavily grogged brown stoneware clay. They were formed solid, then cut into pieces that were hollowed to a honeycomb structure and slipped back together. Surface features like stitching and wrinkles were added after the rejoining.
Nancy Roberts’ art tends to be sentient creatures or objects, but does not depict real creatures or things; they could be surreal or abstract. For this show, The Birds and the Bees, she was never likely to make birds or bees as such.
Nancy can’t give a rational reason for her proclivities; they come from a deep level and are very genuine. She hopes that her works hook the mind in deeper and non-rational ways. Because of what she makes, her work is almost always hand-built sculpture.
Nancy’s sculpture has been exhibited in juried shows in Hudson NY, Philadelphia, and Gainesville FL, as well as at numerous Nova Scotia juried shows. She has produced two solo shows for Swoon Fine Art and is currently represented by Visual Voice Fine Art in Truro. Collectors in Oklahoma, Delaware, Georgia, North Carolina, and British Columbia have chosen or commissioned her sculpture.