“The series of new paintings included in the exhibition Still Days reflects on our sensitive and binding relationships with the landscape and tender love of the land.
Motivated by a sensitivity to the passing of time and primed with personal experience, the painting reveals an ongoing attempt to portray reality in a way that liaises not with literal representation but feeling, memory and thought.
The paintings aim to challenge any inclination to see the landscape as fixed, dispersing familiar representations of the landscape within a field of colour, mark and line. Areas of intricately mixed and subtly altered colour are dispersed across the picture plane to create optical tremors and the flux of the landscape. The image is at times composed, and at other times ruptured into parts and fragments, dispersing multiple entry points across the picture plane.
I am interested in exploring a compositional density and a compression of space, in a way that feels all-consuming, yet passive and gentle at the same time. Within the paintings, imagery tips in and out of focus. Abrupt shifts in surface textures interrupt the image, skies press forward in a reversal of atmospheric perspective and areas lift up from their proper pictorial location. Paint is dragged in thin bands across the plane and also buried, thick and congealed under the surface. The works experiment with exposed sections of coloured ground and negative space to throw the overlaid marks into high relief. Deliberately effaced edges alternate with strong line work in the paintings, disturbing a sense of literal and representational logic.
With large figures looming in the foreground of many of these paintings, the paintings mull over human impact as a catalyst of environmental crisis whilst also situating humanity, and our love of the natural world as a bastion of hope. The handling of paint in the figurative elements is slightly at odds with the surroundings, marking our fragile reality.” – Nicole Kelly, 2023
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