N I C H O L A S C O L E Y
My painting has its roots in the fanatical ethos of a small school in the South of France which made Cezanne its figurehead and had a very black and white view of art history. L'ecole Marchutz was a great place to get rooted in a concrete perspective of the fundamentals and a format of painting from real life. Twenty years later, I still paint on location, finding myself in relation to a place and seeking unity with my surroundings. Only now I've exchanged the south of France for the open-air nut house that is San Francisco.
More recently the matter of composition has played a prevalent role in my work, as I experiment with less conventional dynamics to arrange the urban and natural environments. For example, in my Market & Pearl Street series, I use the empty asphalt of the street to create a sparse and uncluttered majority of the canvas and forcing detail and subject matter to the periphery. Along the edge I use the darkened, unresolved negative space of a row of cars as its own color field, creating reductive and raw elements of form and a chance to interpret color as broad fields which unifies for a spontaneous, perceptual painting as one might see if blinded by sun.
I see no end to the possibilities of painting out in the world. Just stand there long enough until the light shimmers off the pavement, or until you see the comforting pattern of parking meters, the side view mirrors, the shadows under cars. If you love nature enough, you will see it even here, in our urban world.
Miwok Shell Mounds, 72"x48", 2022