Nancy Mauldin’s images are a celebration of the manifest treasures of Mississippi, as well as a celebration of the charm and beauty of the French people and landscape.
Nancy, who was raised in McComb, divides her time between her homes in France and Mississippi. Her earliest memory is of turquoise and yellow crayons. Her earliest ambition was to be an artist. As a teenager in the sixties she studied with Bess Dawson and Marie Hull. She received a Master of Fine Arts with honors from the University of Mississippi in 1975. Later she studied in workshops with educators of note such as Sammy Britt, Carole Katchen, Alan Flattman and Sidney Hermel of the Art Student’s League in New York. In 1999, Nancy closed her studio/gallery in Jackson to begin an international sabbatical. After extended stays in Mexico, Greece, Egypt, Holland and Spain, she established a second home and studio in rural, southern France.
Her works have been honored selections in both national and international exhibitions. Archivist Patti Carr Black includes Nancy’s work in her book Art in Mississippi, 1720-1980.
Painting in the style of the French Impressionists, Nancy renders her visual discoveries in rich ochres, cadmiums, greens, rusts and gold. Her paintings are expressions of grounded moments, in the “now.” We stand at the edge of a vineyard ripening to harvest-gold, splayed like an alluvial plain before a farmhouse. We face a stone arch at the threshold of a courtyard with a brilliant turquoise door, a fire-brick stair and a garden of flaming-orange flowers. We tread the brink of a canal lined with stone-work footpaths that front a row of angular, storied buildings, broken in line only by the curving bridgework spanning the water. We boat a slow river, that returns shockingly pristine reflections of scattered dwellings, matching in brilliance the colors of the autumn trees, shrubs and flowers – whimsical mixes of magenta, purple, red, yellow, white and green – cascading its bank.
Wherever we are in the moment, a promise in the landscape beckons to other moments. The farmhouse promises the revelation of refuge from work and weather, as well as abundant hospitality to the wayfarer. The fire-brick stair and turquoise door promise a rendezvous with the gardener, who has planted the flowers, swept the courtyard, washed the walls and propped the wheelbarrow. The curving bridgework promises a wealth of singular, visual disclosures under slanting roofs, around angled corners and behind leading walls. The pristine reflections of a river promise that our next moments may be sudden insight from common places because, as Nancy’s paintings suggest, the beauty of our world consists in the shared geometries of ordinary human craft and ineffable, uncrafted nature.
If we follow Nancy’s vision we may find the sensibilities of “delight in a simple life” and “contentment in extraordinary experience.”