With her ceramic works, Nancarrow combines handbuilding and throwing techniques, frequently allowing the stoneware clay free agency to seek its own structure while engaging with and guiding the form. Between firings in the kiln, surfaces are sealed with Terra-Sigilata and/or under-glaze. With a crisp white palette, Nancarrow leaves the ceramic form uninhabited by colour, preferring only to emphasise the flow of the form with very subtle tones of grey blues or warm light bronzes.
In contrast, Nancarrow’s works in corten and mild steel are often finished with a single hue, predominantly in a bright palette, creating a playful and vibrant sense of form and energy. Working in the studio to shape and weld the forms by hand, the steel works offer a sense of fluid movement and weightlessness, defying the weight of the industrial material they are created from.
The resulting ceramic and steel sculptures manifest and articulate a sense of uninterrupted energy within the spaces they inhabit, indoors and, with the steel sculptures, outdoors. As the artist describes, “My work is based on a belief that energy passes through all things, both animate and inanimate. This imagined energy offers much in terms of potential form. I sculpt energy”.
Whanganui-born Nancarrow trained and worked as both an Occupational Therapist and Psychotherapist before travel and an interest in Buddhism led to her focus on art. After gaining a degree in ceramics from the University of Westminster, UK, Nancarrow lived and worked in London for eight years, developing her ceramics practice alongside her therapy work before returning to New Zealand and setting up a Waiheke Island studio in 2004. Her works are now held in collections throughout New Zealand and worldwide.
Parnell Gallery has represented Kiya Nancarrow since 2014.