Friday, December 14, 2012

Nuns, Pagans, and being fully human

I’ve been best friends with a pagan for 30 years, so you’ll understand how unsettling it is to see her dressed up as Mother Superior, a role so unlike the range of wildly experimental and classic pieces in her repertoire.
Actress Lynn Sharp Spears Climbs Every  Mountain
   Considering Lynn Sharp Spears is a professional actress/singer/director/set designer/make-up artist (that’s a short list) and has the voice of a powerful fallen angel, I know why she is currently receiving standing ovations in The Sound of Music in Baltimore.
    Nuns and art also convene in a life-sized cabinet carved by Massachusetts-based Nancy Carroll, whose business is aptly called Luna-C Arts. 
Artist Nancy Carroll gets into a nun's drawers
I profiled Nancy for The Middlesex Beat in 2002:
There’s nothing quite like a classic black dress and red high heels to make  a statement, especially if the black is a nun’s habit and the red shoe seems, in this case, to be on the wrong foot.
“There’s a full human being in here,” said artist Nancy Carroll as she approached her sculptural cabinet, “Bad Habits.” She put her hands on the cold-water faucet knobs of the nun’s breasts and when she opened the doors; dance music started to play. Inside was all pink and fluff-- pink Marshmallow Fluff®.
            “Go ahead,” urged Carroll, as I gingerly pulled open the nun’s drawers edged in carved ruffles and filled with memorabilia of Carroll’s experience as a novice. (She did not become a nun.)
            When she tallies up the time involved in making her basswood nun cabinet, she figures 330 hours of planning, designing, carving, joining and painting and, oh yes, 53 years.

I find the idea of being pigeon-holed into any particular style antithetical to being an artist and a person. Although their unique abilities to portray nuns made the news for both Lynn Sharp Spears  and Nancy Carroll , each artist continually expands into uncategorizable realms linked by curiosity about the next step forward. When someone asked an NPR correspondent to describe what I did, she responded that I was "a creative polymath." I think that describes us all--without boundaries. As Nancy said, “There’s a full human being in here.”

1 comment:

Janis Nussbaum Senungetuk said...

The expression on the Nun's face (Bad Habits) is wonderful. I'm interested in seeing more of her work. Thank you!