Ginny Nagy was born in 1951 and grew up in a working-class railroad town in central New Jersey, United States. Her father was an art engraver, until his employer moved away, and her mother was busy caring for seven children. The home was tumultuous and often frightening to a shy little girl. Ginny’s early love of painting was suppressed by a social culture that directed girls to only a few pursuits: homemaking, teaching, nursing, or secretarial work. She began raising her own children at 18, soon without a man in the household, and she took jobs wherever she could. When her life stabilized years later, she began pursuing her passion, first in sculpture and then oil painting. She sought short-term classes, such as at Johnson Atelier in New Jersey and the local community college, but her lessons came through her own study of artists such as Neel, Toulouse-Lautrec, Modigliani, Soutine, and Schiele.
She painted because it relieved pain and brought moments of self-fulfillment. To her initial surprise, her mysterious expressions of human trouble and turmoil found admirers on the internet. Her paintings were selling through internet exposure, and local art enthusiasts were inviting her to participate in their displays, some commercial and many presented by non-profit organizations. She gladly donated paintings to family and friends and to some charitable entities. One of her paintings, Portrait of Zoila, appeared in the background of a popular television show, Jeff Lewis’s Bravo TV series “Flipping Out.” These early successes motivated Ginny to undertake a greater body of work, and to try different genre.
Without formal education, Ginny leaves to others the task
of describing the art she produces. Some
have called it edgy. Her canvases
certainly exude emotion, frequently sad, sometimes psychopathic. She does not set out with the intent of
evoking such reactions. Only when one of
her paintings amuses has a conscious objective for that painting been
displayed. Predominantly, she is simply
working with the vibrant colors and shapes that she sees in her surroundings –
seeing them in human faces and figures, obviously not a source of security and
serenity for her. In her more recent
work, the backgrounds too have exposed the turbulence of her world. With few models, she often paints
self-portraits, but not of her true appearance.
Instead, her self-portraits reflect a range of moods and daily mutations
of her self-image. Her active mind
unconsciously directs the rapid production of her brushes and other tools,
leaving it to the viewer to be intrigued, amused, repulsed, or knowingly
pleased as may be. Seldom does a viewer
turn away without a reaction.
Studio 2020 1974