All Blood is Red: Nancy Spero’s “War Series”

our flag detail 2s

Some artists overwhelm you with their color and form.  Some make you think.  Even at her most beautiful, Nancy Spero is political.  She bears witness.

Nancy Spero      "Bomb"

Nancy Spero

When she and her family returned to the United States from Paris in 1964, Spero was angry.  She felt marginalized as a woman and figurative artist in the abstract expressionist art world.  Her arthritis was making it increasingly difficult to paint.  She needed to “balance” her art and the needs of a husband and three children.  And the United States was mired in Vietnam.

our flag detail 4s

Spero abandoned the grandness and epic aims of oil painting and began to work intimately with ordinary materials:  paper, pencil, pen and ink, collage , gouache.  “The War Series” was an early result.

Nancy Spero  "La Bombe"

Nancy Spero
“La Bombe”

Are Spero’s images uncomfortable?  Yes, and they are meant to be.  No matter your beliefs, if you lived in the United States in the 1960’s, you could not escape the war.

our flag s

These works are reflective, suggestive, and inspirational to me.  My collage “Our Flag Was Still There” (above) was directly formed by Spero’s  “War Series” work.

         Nancy Spero "Crematorium Chimney,     Victims, Green Gas"

Nancy Spero
“Crematorium Chimney,
Victims, Green Gas”

Her impassioned distress encompassed all armed conflict.

all blood s

Her work forms the backbone of my collage “All Blood is Red” as well.

  Nancy Spero "Chinese Bomb     and Victims"

Nancy Spero
“Chinese Bomb
and Victims”

Visiting the Vietnam Memorial in Washington DC for the first time a few years ago was a very intense experience; you could see it reflected on everyone’s faces.  It remains an unfinished piece of our lives.

memorial b & w s

“There is no glory in battle worth the blood it costs.”
–General Dwight D. Eisenhower

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About memadtwo

For more madness, follow me on Instagram @h_zimel methodtwomadness is a blog of two friends, Nina and Kerfe kblog is Kerfe's solo branch on the tree

7 responses to “All Blood is Red: Nancy Spero’s “War Series””

  1. memadtwo says :

    Beautiful work. I love it all.


  2. Susan Feathers says :

    This is s very powerful post. Congratulations on your art. All artists are advocates…..

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Steve Tanham says :

    Savage stuff – very potent, really grips you!

    Liked by 1 person

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