Nancy Dwyer received her BFA from University at Buffalo in 1976. She then moved to Manhattan and began exhibiting with a group of artists now known as the Pictures Generation, named for their 1977 group exposition titled “Pictures” at Artist’s Space in SoHo.
Dwyer co-founded Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center with Charles Clough, Robert Longo, Cindy Sherman and Michael Zwack in 1974. During the late 1970s and early 1980s, she created art from appropriated images, using films, television, newspapers, magazines and other forms of popular culture as resources. Rather than duplicate these images as Pop artists did in the 1960s, she took them out of their original contexts, reduced figures to bold cartoon-like drawings with simplified applications of color. Since the mid-1980s, Nancy Dwyer has featured words, puns, and irony in her work. For example, her socio-political word sculpture and paintings were noted in reviews of the 1987 Biennial Exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art as one of the emerging artists “operating in the gap between Pop, Minimalism and Conceptual Art.”
Dwyer has been commissioned to produce site-specific public works of art in the United States and Europe that spell out appropriate messages to their environments. Her extensive national and international exhibition history and multimedia installations at major museums, include the Whitney Museum of American Art, MOCA Los Angeles, Contemporary Art Museum in Houston, Texas; Burchfield Penney Art Center in Buffalo, NY; Kunsthalle Wein, Austria; Dunedin Public Art Gallery in New Zealand and the New Museum of Contemporary Art in NYC. In 2013, the Fisher Landau Center for Art in New York present a major solo exhibition, NANCY DWYER: Painting and Sculpture, 1982-2012.