Fannie Flagg_Edit

“ 


……….

How to explain the phenomenon that is Nall? In the 1830’s there was a night 
where they say a million silver comets were falling; stars lit up the 
Alabama sky and turned the entire night as bright as day until morning.
 This was a night for Nall, just made for Nall.
 Being a writer, not a visual artist, I am certainly not qualified to comment
 on art with any authority. I would be hard pressed to draw a straight
line. Therefore I can only make a literary comparison to describe my 
emotions at seeing Nall’s work for the first time. When I was sixteen, I
 picked up a copy of Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged”, opened it to the first 
page, and it grabbed me by the throat and pulled me in, and did not let go 
until I had finished it. I did not understand a lot of it. I was 
certainly over my head with the philosophy, but the one thing I understood
 was that Rand’s passion to communicate was overwhelming. Nall’s work has
 the same effect. It virtually and figuratively jumps at you, grabs you by
 the shoulders, shakes and rattles you to the bone. Love it, hate it, or
 understand it – that is not the question. Did it affect you? Did it reach
 you? Did it make you smile? Bottom line, did it touch you? Was Nall the 
artist able to communicate something to you? And if all these questions were 
to be asked of a hundred people about Nall’s work, I can guarantee you there 
would be one hundred loud Yes’es! He cannot by nature be ignored. Being
 who he is, Art itself, he is incapable of creating anything less than the
 raw power and energy that he is. One has a feeling that if he were locked
 in an empty room, he would grab air and use it to create. Nall is a born 
artist, bursting at the seams to create; even the usual boundaries of frames
 cannot contain him. Although classically trained, he leaps past all 
preconceived ideas and rules and shows us an original and unique complex
 world of contradictions. His visions are startling, shocking, violent, hot, sexual, complex, exquisite, whimsical, unforgettable, and terrifying. 
He is clearly haunted by the injustices of life, and at the same time 
overjoyed by its beauty.
 There is an old wives’ tale about people literally experiencing spontaneous
 combustion and burning up, leaving nothing but a few ashes. I laughed at 
this, but, being around Nall, you wonder if he could burn by the heat of his
 own energy. He attacks life with passion as if he could eat it. I am 
reminded of the moment when Dr. Frankenstein first sees his man-made human
 start to move and exclaims, “It’s alive!” Being around Nall and seeing his
 work, one is left with only one thought. “It’s alive!”
 Again I confess my inability to dissect and analyze any artist’s work, nor
 would I care to. I believe in the whole of the thing, but being a fellow
 Alabamian, I can see clearly that Nall’s art reflects who and what he is. 
He was shaped by Alabama’s red clay, Alabama’s blood, and Alabama’s passion.
 A restless man, who, being much braver and more curious than most of his
 Alabama brothers and sisters, has traveled and lived in places that most of 
us have only read about. And he has gathered it all up, brought it home 
and mixed it into his great big creative pot. He has added ingredients 
from here and there that have never been mixed together before, making a 
delicious, exotic stew. But the main stock is pure Alabama. And like
 Alabama, he is trying to come to terms with, and make sense of, a troubled
 past, moving forward and backward and sideways at the same time. Trying to 
mesh the insanity of life with the divine. And while Nall searches for the
 divine in his soul and attempts to reach out to touch God, he shows us a
 glimpse of the divine in ourselves.”
FANNIE FLAGG

(Fannie Flagg is an American actress, comedian, and author of famous literary works such as “Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café”)

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