Oz in the News 9.29.14

Nikkal_Multiplied_640_SLMM-Hays-KS-2014Nikkal_Dorothy-is-Still-Waiting_640_Hays-KSNancy Egol Nikkal Latest Exhibition a Nod to the Wizard of Oz  Nancy Egol Nikkal’s current installation, on display at the Hays Art Center Gallery, Hays, KS, opened August 22. The installation, “There’s No Place Like Home,” is open to the public until October 4, 2014. This is in conjunction with the Society of Layerists in Multi-Media (SLMM) National Conference, which the facility will be hosting from October 1-5th. A New York-based contemporary collage artist with a focus on abstract, geometric works on paper, canvas and panel, Nancy Egol Nikkal created “There’s No Place Like Home” as a contemporary spin on the American classic, “The Wizard of Oz.”  “I was thinking about the yellow brick road in the Wizard of Oz movie and painted the background yellow in one collage…” Egol Nikkal continued. “I was thinking about how the wizard’s balloon lifted off without Dorothy and embellished the other collage background with tiny pasted drawings of air balloons. Each collage includes fashion designer shoes embellished with red acrylic paint…In my collages, [I’m trying to create the perception] Dorothy is still waiting to get home…”

Blagg: Oz, Baum and me  I owe a lot to the “Wizard of Oz” … not the movie, particularly, but to L. Frank Baum, the guy who wrote that wonderful series of books about Dorothy Gale and her friends and their adventures in a marvelous world of make-believe. You see, that book, and the 13 sequels Baum wrote, got me started on reading … and taught me to speed read, an attribute that has served me well throughout my whole life.  I was slow to start reading, back at Zia Elementary School in Albuquerque, N.M. in the late 1940s. But the school was unusual for that time, in that it featured a “progressive” approach to learning — a lot like we’d call the “Montessori method” today.  So my teachers were patient, and then when I took in interest in the first Oz book, “The Wonderful World of Oz,” with its large type and glorious illustrations by W. W. Denslow, they just let me be. For most of the next year, I couldn’t wait to get to school and find out what was happening to Tik-Tok and Ozma and Scraps, the patchwork doll. When the movie came out, in 1939, I wasn’t born yet. But I distinctly remember the excitement I felt when it came to Albuquerque — probably when it was re-released in 1949. My grandmother took my sister and me downtown (an adventure in itself, since we lived way out on the outskirts of the city, on the edge of the desert, in a post-war housing development) and we went into the — air-conditioned! — movie theater with joy and anticipation. To my dismay, the Wicked Witch of the West scared the heck out of me! Barbara and I were cowering in our seats as she yelled threats at Dorothy and her friends from a housetop in the forest — and those flying monkeys! And then we were saved … the theater blew up.

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