Nancy Charak is a native Chicagoan who makes art in a studio space in the Ravenswood neighborhood. Her formal art training began at the Art Institute’s Saturday school, continued through an undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago, then Northern Illinois University for an MFA in Painting and Drawing. Nancy then underwent a varied set of work, learning and play experiences following her formal schooling. She spent nine years in the printing trade managing print jobs, nine summers playing amateur women’s softball, fifteen years as a legal secretary and administrative assistant, studied Chaucer and Beowulf, traveled to Mexico and Brazil, numerous cities and museums in Western Europe almost beyond count, taught English as a Second Language and Adult Basic Education, shot hundreds of feet of 35mm film, played with PCs and Macs, and annoyed her friends and family with zillions of travelogue slideshows. Nancy likes to ignore rules, slash pencils and spill paint to see what happens.
My purpose as an artist is not necessarily to tell the truth—it is to captivate you for as long as I can hold your attention. It is not necessary for the artwork to be any more than what it is. What is necessary is for the art to flow from inside and to allow the artwork to spring from my entire set of experiences and sensibilities as an artist.My current favorite giants, to name just the women, are Agnes Martin and Joan Mitchell for the purity of their thought and action on the canvas as well as Linda Karshan, Sandra Blow, Vija Celmins, and Katherina Grosse. Whether what they do is lyrical, expository or just plain brash, to my way of thinking they are all pure abstract expressionists who make marks, lines, shapes, colors on paper, canvas, even buildings, and say to us, “ here look at this, make of it what you will.”