Angell Gallery is pleased to present Rob Nicholls' Backwoods Song. The exhibition runs from Friday, Feb. 2 to Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018 with an opening reception on Feb. 2 at 7:00 p.m.
Dramatic light and rich colour palettes are two traits associated with Baroque paintings of the 17th Century. Painters such as Vermeer and Caravaggio are heralded for the sensitive brushwork, and masterly renderings of light in their paintings.
Rob Nicholls similarly builds his gem-like surfaces from muted under-painting, this approach learned during an internship in New York. “I was working for an artist who had me gesso the grounds of his paintings, which would then be built up into surfaces resembling faux marble or granite,” he says. “I use a comparable process because I want to create a tension between an ultra-smooth surface and an illusion of texture and depth.”
Nicholls maps out the patterns in his paintings systematically, giving them a feeling similar to finely woven tapestries. Using a soft sable brush, he imbues his uncanny natural forms with a silken lusciousness that appears illuminated from behind. “I want to meld the abstract with the representational, and for the paintings to be more about articulating a space than creating an identifiable place or shape,” Nicholls explains. “There is a sense of landscape, but it’s ultimately unknowable because you can’t always tell where one form ends and another begins.”
- Bill Clarke
Rob Nicholls completed his MFA at the University of Waterloo in 2012 after completing a BFA at Emily Carr University in Vancouver. He has mounted solo exhibitions at the Coffin Factory, SeaFoam Home and the Howard Park Institute (Toronto), Shudder Gallery (Vancouver) and the University of Waterloo Art Gallery, and has participated in over 15 group exhibitions at public and commercial galleries in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Halifax and Guelph since 2008. He has been the recipient of Emerging Artist Grants from the Ontario and Toronto Arts Councils, and has been an instructor in the Drawing and Painting Department at OCADU since 2013.