Guest author, Alex Kosene, gives us his keen insight into Nancy Noël’s work in our series of in-depth looks at her recent work.
This nearly 8-foot-tall painting seems oddly out of place, yet entirely rendered in the artist’s inimitable hand. An angel, floating in her own celestial aura, but there at her side, she is agreeably holding hands with a skeleton. The skeleton emanates from the darkness behind it where its shadow (or is that a wing) ominously follows this mismatched pair. At first, it takes the viewer a minute to reconcile these contrasting images.
Viewers may be amused to know that, at the time she painted it, the artist didn’t know herself its meaning. As Nancy Noël has repeatedly said, “When I’m painting, I don’t think about what I’m painting. I simply concentrate on how to paint it.” An image burns itself in her mind, and instead of judging its attributes or origins she uses her creative energy to worry about color, balance, and expression. Whatever meanings are ascribed to her work come as latent messages, as if the universe is offering us a riddle to be solved. Even the title, The Contract, came months after it was hanging on the wall. Despite the initial reaction, viewers soon not only found themselves at ease, but in awe of this large, ambiguous canvas.
So what was an angel – an eternal symbol of divinity – doing holding hands with fear?
“To live with fear is to make a contract with fear,” says Noël. “Fear, and all that is born of it, is not part of our true nature, which is love. But we court fear every day, worrying about the little things in our lives that may become big problems.”
The Contract is the story of a relationship between our divine source, our true nature, and an envoy of rear. In so many words it is the story of the human experience.
Indeed, the historical proportions of this movement can be seen everywhere we turn. The Secret, currently a top selling book and cultural phenomenon, is about just that, how the universal laws of energy are there to help us shape our own lives into whatever we choose. Similarly, The Contract sends a message of awareness.
“The difference between being ruled by fear and managing fear so that it doesn’t interrupt our connection to our divinity, is simply awareness,” Nancy says. “One day we want to evolve to a place where faith, faith in ourselves, in love, in the powerful laws of the universe, leads our lives. That all starts with awareness.
In looking at her painting, Noël is always reminded of a quote that was carved above her uncle Bobby’s fireplace: “Fear knocked, faith answered, no one was there.”
Noël thinks that moving from fear to faith is different for everyone. It can take a lifetime for some, many lifetimes for others, she says. But as a woman and artist, Nancy Noël believes that faith is the driving force of her life. How else could she paint giant canvasses without knowing what the outcome will be?
– Alex Kosene
Nancy Noël lives and works in Zionsville, IN. Her paintings are in major collections throughout the world, including, Nelson Mandela, Oprah Winfrey and Robert Redford. Her works are on view at the beautiful N.A. Noël Gallery in Aspen, CO
The Contract is available as a limited edition on canvas. Please click here to learn more or order one.