Celebrating a World of Fantasy

        On Saturday from 5 to 6:30 p.m., Nicole Bigar of East Hampton and New York City will sign copies of her new book, “Koukoumanias: A World of Fantasy,” at a publication party at Book­Hampton on Main Street in East Hampton. The book commemorates 45 years of her creative work.
    Born in Paris and feeling uprooted once her family immigrated to New York, Ms. Bigar, in her own words, “experienced a second birth, a new independence, self-belief, and the opening up of my world through my studies of art.” She studied anatomy and drawing at the Art Students League in between high school and college.
    Coming as she did from a strict family and marrying as a very young woman, Ms. Bigar felt liberated by being able to paint. It seems to have been a refuge from all the expectations those around her had of her, as a daughter, a wife, a mother.
    Once she was living in East Hampton, she met Victor D’Amico, the founding director of education at the Museum of Modern Art, who also started the Art Barge, a summer art school on Napeague, and Willem de Kooning, who encouraged her to explore her own sense of color.
    Over the years, she has had several one-person shows in New York, as well as exhibits at the Arlene Bujese, Elaine Benson, and Nabi galleries. This summer she is teaching a course at the Art Barge that explores Mr. D’Amico’s painting techniques.
    Many of her oil paintings, often in lush colors, feature playful looking, semiabstract goddesses. Archetypal themes suffuse her work. Ms. Bigar took courses at the Jung Institute and has always experimented with new techniques. Her travels to Cambodia, Myanmar, Morocco, Greece, and Norway also influenced her painting. Subjects from Genesis and the Song of Songs appear in her work. She has always been fascinated by the “power of women, the mystery of childbirth. Their attunement to the earth,” as she wrote in her book.