CANAAN, New Hampshire — A celebration of life will take place at the Canaan Meetinghouse in Canaan, New Hampshire on Saturday, June 30 at 2 p.m. for Wayne L. Nield, II, who died peacefully at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center on Friday, April 20, 2018, after a period of declining health.
The only child of Wayne L. and Frances (Murray) Nield, Wayne was born in Baltimore, Maryland, on November 19, 1947. A visual artist and historic preservationist, Wayne held a BS in English and Art from Towson State University, and a Masters Degree in American Art History, with emphasis on Architecture, from the American University. From 1978 to 1983, he was an instructor in the historic preservation program at Goucher College in Baltimore, teaching American Architectural History and Historic Preservation. Prior to that, Wayne had served as a Field Historian and Preservation Planning consultant for numerous clients, including Maryland Historical Trust.
Many of his architectural photography projects from the 1980s, such as “Downtown My-town Comin’ Down All Around” (about the demolition of Baltimore’s architectural history), were eventually incorporated into art installations that included sound, lighting, found objects, and large, hand-colored photographs. This creative approach to conservation issues subsequently led to significant artistic accomplishments, including “The Irish Shrine,” and homage to Baltimore’s Irish immigrants who labored at nearby railroads. Thanks to Wayne’s efforts, five row houses from around 1848 were saved from demolition.
In the late 1980s to the mid-90s, Wayne spent his time in Florida, documenting the history of the threatened commercial fishing village of Cortez. Thanks to funding from a variety of sources, including the Florida Humanities Council, this documentation resulted in the comprehensive multi-media project, “Vanishing Cultures.”
All along, Wayne also spent time on other creative projects, including mixed-media painting series such as “Walls of the Reliquary” and “The Scarer of Crows,” in which his use of historical references combined with a contemporary mode of expression resulted in powerful works of art. The themes of these series continued to be interwoven in his artistic quest until his death.
By 2005, after fighting what he eventually came to consider a lost war (with a few victorious battles) in his efforts to preserve his Baltimore neighborhood, Wayne settled into solitude in Tioga, PA, a rural place in the Appalachian Mountains. There, he began to concentrate solely on painting. When the fracking industry started to encroach upon the environment in which he was living, Wayne, looking for a new community in which to relocate, decided in 2011 to visit friends in the Upper Valley. Among other places, he discovered AVA Gallery and Art Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire, where he was taken by the juxtaposition of a former factory building turned into a facility for contemporary art. In 2012, in order to be closer to what AVA had to offer, Wayne moved to Canaan, New Hampshire. In Spring 2014, a memorable exhibition of paintings from his “Wall of the Reliquary” series was featured at AVA.
At the time of his death, he was working on further developing his “Scarer of Crows” series. Wayne identified the “Scarer of Crows”—according to tradition, the human scarer of crows played an important role in the security of the local community—to be “artists and environmentalists who, like their ancient counterparts, were somewhat out of the mainstream world, observing what others would not/could not see and sounding the alarm of threats to our future and well-being.”
Wayne is survived by several cousins in Baltimore, by his beloved dog, Tink, and by close friends who would like to thank Wayne’s team at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center’s ICU for the excellent care and support he was given during the last three weeks of his life. A special thank-you goes to his longtime primary care physician, Dr. Gina Fernandez. Memorial contributions may be given to the American Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), or to your local humane society.
This obituary will also appear in the May 24, 2018 edition of the Vermont Standard.
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