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St. Louis Post-Dispatch
January 27, 1993

NANCY HOLTZ MAKES HER ART RHETORIC

By Carol Ferring Shepley

IN THIS SHOW of delicate, exacting works, Nancy Exarhu Holtz reveals herself to be an artist who "loves surfaces." She constructs forceful images: She cuts multicolored sheets of paper with heavily worked surfaces into geometric shapes and recombines them.

But it is those surfaces from which the exhibit, called "Circle of Rhetoric," and the individual works draw their titles. Much of her intense drawing looks like backwards writing, as if she wrote on a plate and then printed that writing on paper by pressing the sheet to the plate. Many of the figures appear to be characters from the Greek alphabet, a reference to Holtz's birthplace. In addition, the cursive appears mysterious, spiritual - the "handwriting on the wall" - or primitive - child's scribble scrabble.

Holtz says that the titles of individual works do not point to specific qualities of the pieces but represent "whimsical choices." Although all are in Latin, this can be determined from the two that are readily intelligible to the least Latin-literate. "Veni, vidi, vici," Caesar's forceful, direct and terse communication of his victory in the Gallic wars, is the title of a pretty orange, green, blue, pink and red construction that resembles a map. "In Vino Veritas" floats like a kite. While most pieces are refined and lovely, a favorite of mine is "Scripta Manent." It is large and powerful, made of many sheets of mysterious writing lined up together. These sheets have not been shaped, but retain their rectangular format. As opposed to her constructed pictures, which rely on shape for impact, "Scripta Manent" emphasizes surface alone. The title means "the written word remains," and it is the first part of a quotation that concludes "while the spoken word flies."

Copyright 1993 St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Record Number: 9301260051


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