Unlike so many city dwellers, Nade Haley has never lost contact with nature, dividing her time as she does between her New York City home, RISD and Nova Scotia, where she spends her summers. It is fair to say, in fact, that she thrives on contrasts inherent in these disparate environments. She compares her summer habitat to the highlands of Scotland, possessing its cliffs, its fog and its vastness and eliciting a sense of perception distinctly separate from that of her Brooklyn loft. She is unquestionably interested in opposites, and this is manifested in her work both formally and psychologically. A clear connection to nature became evident early in her work, taking its first form in the 1970s when she, then an undergraduate, assembled a group of young artists to create an earthwork on her family property in South Carolina. Traveling from school in cars and trucks, they came up with an idea rooted in both sculpture and conservation, and together they tiered and planted a hill that had been uncontrollably washing away into an adjacent pond. Haley’s group projects and site-determined sculptural works such as this one continued into the 1980s through a series of performance collaborations in which her works interacted with live dancers. It was here that she first worked with light and shadow, using primitive computers to create visual effects from projected images.
Excerpted from text written by Janet Goleas, curator at the Islip Art Museum, East Islip, NY, 2004.