New Work: Illuminations

Illuminations. Flag book with encaustic & handmade cotton paper laminates. © Haley Nagy.

In Illuminations I explore the notion of “the great silence of God” in an abstract manner. This flag book is comprised of densely fused, encaustic-handmade paper laminations, which glow when turned, like stained glass struck by a ray of light from behind. The structure allows the book to take many different shapes, each of which holds connotations ranging from cathedral arches and illuminated manuscripts to the emptiness of the blank page. The process of “reading” this highly sculptural book form allows one to contemplate the frustrating nature of faith and the promised reward of the search for it. While it is obvious that this book has the potential to be filled with light, it does not in fact contain any text. The content is elusive and indirect. Divine grace, holy inspiration, “light as a metaphor for the divine” – whatever you may call it – seems tantalizingly just out of reach, flickering or simply gone. In this work, the idea of “illuminations” which illuminate nothing more than themselves was the first step toward a new line of inquiry about the role of religion in my own life, and in turn, the lives of the women around me.

Photos by Stephen DeSantis.