Macko casts her net... through the realms of nature, technology and feminism, and over a vast expanse of time. Her iridescent diptych, "Quintessence: Study for New Constellations," is a sky-like space swarming with symbolism and references to ancient societies, including an elongated figure climbing a ladder. The image cam from a South African rock painting of a beekeeper, but in its current context the figure could be an astronaut walking in outer space.
(Suzanne Muchnic, "Inspired Leaps from the Lab to the Studio," Los Angeles Times, 8/27/00)

Installation Views

Quintessence: New Constellations, 5 X 14’, mixed media on birchwood panels, 2000

The surfaces of Nancy Macko's fourteen-foot long birchwood panels give birth to iridescent layers of meaning in Quintessence: New Constellations. Macko integrates her considerable skills as a painter, digital and graphic artist, as well as interpreter of feminist figuration into the creation of new galaxies filled with life giving, memory-bearing imagery. Constellations of winged beings light the way to free floating forms that suggest ancient ladder climbers searching out honeycombs, or tethered astronauts inhabiting Macko's vision of an egalitarian future.
(Diane Calder, Intersections of Art and Science, ArtScene, September, 2000)



"According to the ancient Greeks, in addition to the four elements of earth, air, fire and water, there was a fifth element that was lighter and permeated the universe. In the Middle Ages, quinta essentia came to represent the essential part, and later in English, "quintessence" meant the finest and perfect representation. In contemporary cosmology, the term "quintessence" refers to the missing matter in the universe. For Macko quintessence, like bees and constellations, is a metaphor for the universe's interconnectedness." (Mary Davis MacNaughton, In the Mind's Sky: Intersections of Art and Science, Claremont, CA: Scripps College, 2000)


First Study for Quintessence


Studies for
Quintessence: New Constellations


Apis Mellifera

Eclipsing Binaries

Honeycomb Cluster

Rose Nebula

Queenangel Between Worlds

Wishbone Galaxy

Stellar Winds

Bucraniums Constellation


"In her quest to unearth ancient matriarchal cultures as antidote to the dominant cultural paradigm, Macko produces resonant and multivalent artworks that, through feminism, create connections between technology and the natural world. ...In her more recent Quintessence: New Constellations, Macko shifts the metaphors but not her purpose; as the bees become stars, they still function as guides to a new, uncharted future."
(Susan Ressler, Women Artists of the American West, NC: McFarland & Co.Inc., 2003)