Nance O'Banion: Selected 21st Century Work

May 19–June 4
Nance O'Banion
Test Strip Gallery, Martinez Annez | Oakland Campus

Gallery Hours: Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm

Nance Robin Galloway O’Banion, artist and professor emerita at California College of the Arts, passed on March 31, 2018, after several years living with a neurological variant of parkinsonism. Her loving spirit, intellect, humor, and vision will be deeply missed, not only by her husband Kerry and daughter Megan, but also by the large community of family, friends, and colleagues who shared her passion for art and life. Even as her physical body took its course, her strength and positive energy kept the sparks flying, and she led an active and creative life right to the end.

Nance was not only an artist of international renown, with works in the collections of museums around the world, but was also a dedicated educator, and a beloved part of CCA for over 40 years. Many of her students went on to become lifelong friends, and she continued to inspire them even as they became outstanding artists and educators in their own right. Nance’s Oakland studio was not only a place to create her own art, but also a salon of ideas and dialogue and collaboration.

At CCA, Nance taught innovative programs in the fine arts with a focus on printmaking, textiles, papermaking, and book arts. She led courses within the individualized major and graduate programs which, like the arc of her own work, transcended disciplines and media. During her tenure she served as Chair of Printmaking and President of the Faculty Senate, as well as being a mentor to individual faculty. Nance was the recipient of two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Nance’s artworks ranged from large, public sculptures to unique limited-edition books to drawn or painted wood tablets. Her work has been featured in solo and curated shows in major galleries and museums throughout the world, ranging from SFMOMA to the Renwick Gallery to the Louvre. Her works live on in the collections of over two dozen museums, including the Museum of Art and Design in New York, Getty Museum in Los Angeles, Victoria and Albert Museum in London, Oakland Museum of California, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Cleveland Art Museum, Seattle Art Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum in London, Museum Bellerive in Zurich, Ghent Museum of Fine Arts in Belgium, Haderslev Museum in Denmark, and Harvard and Yale Universities.

Over the last two decades her work underwent a striking transformation, both in scale, from the grand to the intimate, and in content, from the abstract to the symbolic. This was due in part to neurological changes and their resulting perceptual insights, but also to a growing desire to communicate a more intensely personal vision in her work. Yet this work, although deliberately introspective and reflective of her own dreaming and waking life, is at the same time universal: many viewers encounter images that strike a deep archetypal chord, and resonate with their own experiences.

Nance leaves us with a beautiful legacy, in the strong, wise, and loving daughter she raised, the art she created, the many students she inspired and mentored, and the community of artists she nurtured and energized. The sparks she lit in each of us continue to burn.