Irene Nunn, Fern Valley Farm, 2021. Oil on board, 26 x 30
Nunn writes of her work: From an early age, I have always been fascinated with form, color, in particular the soul behind the human face articulated by miniature contractions of muscles that suggest a story. I love the tales a face can tell. And for thirty years I have tried to express this with gratitude, with connection and with truth.
Now, I have enlarged my subject area to include landscapes and still lifes. Bridges, in particular, the Columbia RR Bridge connecting both sides of the Schuykill River near the Art Museum has riveted my attention. I have painted it in both oils and pastels, in all seasons from all different angles with all different outcomes. And I paint it still. Sometimes it is the idea of connection, of grace and architectural truth that makes bridges so compelling to me. Living here in Eastern Pennsylvania continues to offer up local vistas that require visual documentation. And I see that as my present purpose in life.
After graduating in 1967 from Seton Hill College, where I began my commissioned portrait work, I taught art in six different elementary schools in the Philadelphia Public School System. During this time, my students work was seen city and state wide, the highlight of which was Taggart School’s Salute to the States Exhibition, a fifty-panel montage representing the economic and cultural contributions of all fifty states at the First Continental Bank during the Bicentennial Celebration in 1976. In 1982, I married a wonderful man, Wally and we adopted our daughter in 1985, I left teaching to stay at home with my child and volunteered, eventually becoming a board member of the National Adoption Center, an organization given to recruiting and matching potential parents for over 1,400 eligible children who wait for permanent families. Besides committee work in the planning of major fund raisers, I coordinated arts and crafts projects for potential adoptees. I was appointed to the Upper Darby School Board and served for three years. Later, I joined the board of The Foreign Policy Research Institute, which allowed my participation in bringing together opposing social critics and journalists for panel discussions in the area of welfare, education and foreign policy. My most memorable experience was a major panel and dinner featuring members of the Solidarity Movement after its victory over Communism in 1989. But my true love was art and I had always stayed involved in one capacity or another. Teaching part time at my daughter’s school, The School of the Holy Child in Drexel Hill, I painted the backdrops for the last four plays of her years there and donated portraits to the school fund raisers. Currently, I paint commissioned portraits and landscapes, and conduct workshops for aspiring artists from my studio in the Manayunk section of Philadelphia. I count among my clients the President Emeritus Judge Stephen