Chronicle on Nancy Wood

Visual assessment of the perceptually salient leading to the investigation of growth & transformation.

Incompleteness of transformation is frequent in mineralogy and is often resulting from shock metamorphism.A perturbation may generate another perturbation that prevents the first one to complete.

The chromophore paintings of Nancy Wood introduce compositional variations of stretching and banding known in mineral specimens. The examination is conducted by the artist who captures a particular region by focusing on an exposed surface extracted from an unknown environment and geological context. In painting, color is caused by pigments whereas in mineralogy color is impacted by inclusions of other minerals or impurities (absorption band).The paintings of Nancy Wood depict growth stages and transformation that can not be related to a given group of minerals in particular. Our observations are reminiscent of plausible case studies presenting a variety of colors and patterns and we can only recall that there is in nature no band growth model to refer to, as each specimen brings forth a new banding arrangement. A new deposit delivers new characteristics of a known gender that require to revise our former assessments. Indeed, our appreciation is challenged when comes the extraction of new deposits.

Hence, we do not attempt to compare what we see with known type specimens, nor is our observation oriented towards taxonomy. We choose to assume the possibility that there could be such minerals. Thus, we avoid making association between chemistry and habit (general appearance). However, we describe discernible surface or near surface features and plausible internal tensions without referring to standard deviations. Further, we take for granted the fact that,

Each painting depicts a cross section observed under high magnification.

The depiction leads our present observation.The parameters are scale, distance, attraction, gravitation and motion of an internal structure that reveals a nucleus or not.The internal structure permits strata identification, rhythmic bands, lines and interlayers in specimen and within, a cellular and web formation which is the main band component commonly encountered in mineralogy.

The common denominator of the acrylic compositions lies in the repetition of individual bands or grouped bands, showing a low to high degree of morphological instability, although the orientation may be the same within the given region. By orientation, we refer to the spatial location and direction of travel of bands or fluids.
Our examination reveals the global self-organization to the microstructural with a repetition of unit cells.

The visual observation eventually identifies cell transport, depicted in an overall composition and specifically within each band. Such examination enables us to visually (only) measure the saliency of form, together with the often encountered viscuous texture and color distribution, with perceptible variations hence, the variability within each band. Growth in mineralogy may present at first sight, a similarity of its internal structure due to the formation of a given pattern (zoning) however, the concentric or linear pattern goes under transformation within a composition and reflects the complexity of mineralogy which we often observe when the process of growth is completed. Our paper deals with compositions presenting growth in process.

This short paper determines how the artist renders elastic energy and collisions expressions. Further more, each composition discloses whether we observe a continuity in boundaries between bands (including the outer rim), or a strong variation going as far as a dilatation of form and even a deviation of direction.

We differentiate stretching which implies a deformation of a band, from banding which refers to a zoning pattern with more or less regularity. Mineralogy presents variations of zoning from one given specimen to another of the same group (family) of stones. Hence, the zoning pattern may be present near the edges or in the center leaving portions of colorless parts.

In Nancy Wood’s ordered structures, color prevails with oscillatory bands or lines and motion emphasized.

Take the composition Solidarity where white is treated as a contrasting color against red and blue. In fact, white acts both as a matricial fuid and boundary in the internal cell structure and is the dominant body color. The title Solidarity refers to the notion of cohesion between components whether they are stretching or bonding or both, as it is the case in the composition. Indeed, white is the cohesive factor between single unit cells and grouped unit cells. The composition reveals a pattern that undergoes transformation due to the flowing and triadic arrangement of color (blue,white, red) that come into contact and produce chromatic changes (attraction force) into a web structure or not (repulsion force), showing diverse behaviors, allowing some agitation with a wave and oscillatory effect. The textual appearance combines viscuosity (bondage of cells) together with fibrous membranes of various length and scale. The spatial location refers both to organic matter and mineralogy. It is hard to assess one single direction or tension. As it is challenging to assess what grows first or last and least of all, any orbital force.The partial magnified image prevents spotting terminations of the oriented triadic flow. The observation of terminations yields precious information that may lead to identification of a specimen. We merely notice that the overall motion undergoes a shift, leading to a rearrangement of cells in the lower part of the composition.We could assume that rapid growth is generated by an increase of density of the defect observed.

It may be of interest to consider whether an unpredicted shift regardess of its degree, is a defect and therefore unwanted; Indeed, a major shift is a turbulence that disrupts a given arrangment of a web structure for instance. Yet, it causes the occurence and presence of elements that will induce specific chroma and therefore, becomes desirable. The mentioned paintings show such paradox.

As to the direction(s), the composition combines both an upward and downward trend. The composition can be read both ways as the interruption of a transformative motion of growth where the reactions observed are not stationary in a given organic matter self-producing a continuous flow of transformative energy, or in mineralogy showing then, a repeated pattern that can be slightly modified in the same sample. The artist introduces a transition point between adjacent color fields, with the red oscillatory wave leaving its former web structure to join and bond with the white web structure in the lower part of the composition and the outer rim. The red wave causes a shift of direction and inner structure with the web pattern almost collapsing. We notice the contrasting response of both intense blue and red,each disposed in distinctive fields made of unit cells (showing a slight color blending), and conversion of space position, allowing high legibility of the modified sequence, despite the persistent oscillatory effect of single cells and fibrous white membranes. The artist has combined in the same composition, a dilation of color fields while keeping a tight bonding between unit cells that relate to one another despite their color contrasting response and their variation of scale. Consider here, that the modification of scale implies a dilation of motion.

The notion of distinctiveness is further explored.

Pigment Alchemy

Consider the Pigment Alchemy composition which presents a differing growth mechanism. The whole composition’s inner structure is viewed under a higher magnification than the preceding composition, with a strong band contrast. The zoning is quite pronounced with parallel bands (sharp contact) of color following the same orientation.The genesis of bands remains undeciphered and the irregular bands show increase and decrease in width, rendered by sharp to soft tones. Mineralogy investigation would consider the increase in width to be an indication of growth direction.

The variability of tone within each band conveys variation in color constancy and luster. The artist renders a powerful induction of color which yields a composition presenting both saturation of a given color and lightness of tone. The variation is observed in center and peripheral areas within the same band. Hence, the center presents a striking vivid blue becoming greenish blue, and shows zoning ranging from light to dark color propagation, which captures and reflects light differently (light absorbance spectrum). Few isolated but neighboring dark stains, inclusions or even trace elements are placed at various depths by the artist, and obstruct light differently.

The composition renders the mechanism of light scattering and color perception in mineralogy.

Light to dark visible color stains or inclusions are observed within the color bands.The concentration exhibits variability in distance and scale which infers that we observe inclusions rather than stains. Stains appear on the surface, while inclusions are close to the surface or deep within. Their broader dispersal contradicts the upheaval (wave effect) of the web structure whose initial structure and morphology endured severe inner tension or thermal shock, resulting in a strong deviation of direction, pointing upwards. We notice the opponency of color between the vivid black cells of the pink web structure, as well as a pronounced discrepancy of width which enhances the dramatic result of the tension that has occurred or is still occurring. Both options are plausible and the whole composition seems to be focused on a disturbance which alters irreversibly the initial axis, arrangement and direction.

Disturbances are common in mineralogy and yield interesting combinations of patterns.

Distinctiveness of color saturation and propagation divides the composition between the left pink part and the right part. The disturbance (a phase change with a strong force of interaction) has caused the collapse of a good portion of the web structure, the latter undergoing a distinctive change in scale.


The composition Hubblescape exhibits a dominant orientation of the inner structure whose circular motion occurs under strong pressure and high temperature.Unbalanced forces (internal energy) are occuring before one overwhelms the other. Matter becomes amorphous before reaching a state of quiescence (not depicted here) and tension dictates orientation and scale. Its magnitude is such that it is the main focus of the composition, outlined by a bright fiery red. The observation loses track of former genesis and concentrates on the sharp and vibrant color contrast between the web structure and the inner fire resulting from thermal spontaneous change of what seems a magma, where we spot a near surface bubble (fluid inclusion). The composition takes place between the genesis and the final completion of the engulfment which explains the modification of surface texture within the same painting.The process seems irreversible and yet,

Does a pattern collapse and reform again?

In the previous composition we assessed that the initial web patern structure was collapsing under the pressure coming from the right side and upwards. Two complementary forces were modifying the structure. However, a disturbance may not affect the whole pattern and we may encounter in mineralogy, unaffected regions in a specimen. More so, a crack (depending on its width & depth) may cause severe internal weakness which we do not witness in our observation.

Hubblescape challenges us to determine where the main force comes from. The red color is not tempered by the interference of white against dark blue itself, over black. The pattern of the web is revised with a broader dispersion of cell units undergoing a distortion in some areas. The former pleochroism of matter is absorbed by red and its variations of tone. The repetition of color undergoes variation and we notice variation in line intensities. We make here a distinction between color variation and color change, as we observe an increase in color brightness from peripherals to the core of the composition.This may be caused by a difference in grain size of band components which requires scientific tools to be assessed. Obviously, the dispersal of light is uneven between bands which are impacted by the variation of tone and its spatial occurence.

Web of mystery

The composition Web of mystery presents an inclined axis which is also familiar in mineralogy as well as a paradox of forces. The unit cells of the web structure under pressure exhibit erratic behavior with a gap between a facing central unit cell (interesting focus diameter) and tiny ones placed in the background. A notable dense structure exhibits the association of a large scale web structure widely distributed on the left part of the composition, highlighted and lined by thin layers of varied pink tones and shades with microscopic reddish pink veins.

The migrating veins exhibit stress direction which implies that the specimen is going through conflicting internal forces of varying intensity with a different periodicity.

Veins in minerals such as marbles for instance, subject to their width and depth, may cause fracture and parting in the mineral. In the present composition, they show an interesting distance correspondance. The right part of the composition presents malachite green colored flowings bands, meeting (abrupt change) alternating colored layers of matter (diversity of orientation and density of the interlayers components). The fluctuating density produces degrees of absorption with decrease or increase, and therefore varying degrees of shades. We cannot speculate on the periodicity of events causing inernal tension, but the difference in width of the interlayers together with their relation with one another, and density variation seem to indicate that change has occured at intervals.

The matter is made of very fine grained and layered texture presenting dark, irregular and hollow cavities.The orientation of grained texture enables to understand the modification of color and of course, the change in light absorption. The dense matter is observed at the bottom and left upper part of the composition too, and shows a previous and distinct stage of growth than the smooth flow of colors. We notice the contrasting color induction such as malachite green adjacent with rhodocrosite color and jasper green producing sharp contrast boundaries. Further, some layers show porosity and fragmentation (slight blurring of boundaries) and dispersion of microscopic particles. We can not consider them as residual primary components, as they part from remaining layers.

Is the chromaticity space distorted in the composition?

Indeed, we observe a slight distortion in spatial chromaticity that spouses the widening of unit cells. The web structure is pushed both on the left and upwards, while it is attracted to join in fluidity the malachite green region. The composition Liquid gold presents the association of fluid filled cavities within elongated flowing bands of yellow gold and amber honey in motion(circulating). The hosting environment remains neutral to the displacement and unknown. We notice the continuous viscuosity of the texture. Various scaled cavities could very well be impurities traveling along. Once again, the motion is going up and down almost simultaneously.

The transformation is not completed, confirming that nature favors metamorphosis through a complexity of relationships. A continuous response to the geological environment yields minor to big changes that impact colouring and form.

By Sylvie Samani