Since the early nineties, Nancy Macko has drawn upon images of nature—in particular the honeybee society– to explore the relationships between art, science, technology and ancient matriarchal cultures. Until recently, she combined elements of painting, printmaking, digital media, photography, video, and installation to create a unique visual language. This combination of media allowed her to examine and respond to issues related to eco-feminism, nature, and the importance of ancient matriarchal cultures, as well as to explore her interest in mathematics, and prime numbers in particular, in which she endeavored to make explicit the implicit connections between nature and technology.
Macko’s mid-career survey show, Hive Universe: Nancy Macko, 1994-2006, was exhibited at the Municipal Art Gallery in Los Angeles in 2006-7 and was accompanied by a full color catalog. This was the most substantive and comprehensive examination of her work to date and included over 60 pieces spanning various media—traditional and digital prints, video, and mixed media works on wood panels. As part of the national Feminist Art Project, Hive Universe was the forerunning exhibition in Los Angeles to recognize the achievements of the feminist art movement. Her work has been reviewed and written about inArtweek, ArtScene, Artillery, Coast, exposure, Daily Serving, LA Weekly and the LA Times among other publications and journals.
Throughout her career she has had an enduring love and use of photography in her artistic practice. Currently she is immersed in a world she refers to as intimate spaces. Since 2005 she has been developing a body of purely photographic work that takes the viewer into a space of light, air and unfamiliar textures. Using a macro lens to shoot nature subjects from her garden at close range, the images are then realized as large scale photographic works. The images are erotic and sexy, poignant and tender, sometimes abject and unsettling challenging the viewer to experience an image that is not easily defined by familiar landmarks or visual cues. In this work Macko looks at beauty, aging, intimacy and subtlety showing us the essential core that runs through all of her work. “Macko’s photographs suggest that to look closely at nature’s stages of growth and decay is to recognize how closely life and death coexist. Latent in life’s beginnings are its endings, and in beauty lurks the hint of the abject,” Professor Mary MacNaughton (Director, Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery, Scripps College, Claremont, CA).
Macko’s work is in numerous public collections including: Denison Library and the Samella Lewis Collection of Contemporary Art at Scripps College; the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Art, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; Bell Gallery at Brown University; the Grunwald Center for the Graphic Arts, UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Mount Holyoke College Museum of Art; the New York Public Library; the North Dakota Museum of Art; Pomona College Museum of Art; Gilkey Center for Graphic Art, Portland Art Museum; and the RISD Museum of Art.
Originally from New York, Macko received her graduate degrees from the University of California, Berkeley. A practicing artist since the early 1980’s, she has produced over 20 solo exhibitions and participating in over 150 exhibitions both nationally and abroad. She has received more than 30 research and achievement awards for her art. She has traveled extensively and has had highly productive artist residencies at the Banff Centre for the Arts in Canada and the Musee d’Pont Aven in Brittany, France. Macko is Professor of Art at Scripps College in Claremont, CA.