suspending judgement

April 2016

My work has never been about capturing a scene or vista, it has always been about capturing lots of small moments, experiences and snap shots of feelings or atmospheric impressions. This specific way of approaching work in a zoomed in way, disengaging with the outer world and honing in on what you see, what you observe, what fascinates you without really considering consequences is how I went into my last two weeks in studio- aiming not necessarily to produce physical or quantifiable works. The work I ended up producing is potentially the most honest, un-contrived, un-planned series of paintings I’ve ever produced. Focusing on this motif of land meeting sea and the natural systems and patterns created by this clashing of two unrelenting edges.The series of Tideline paintings I’ve made are about focusing on each line as an actual experience not an illustration but the physical sensation of the line’s own realisation, it felt really rudimentary and I believe this is reflected in the paintings themselves, they look like they were made all at once, like they just happened.  

This whole new approach to my practise and the way I’ve actually, practically realised this notion of ‘suspending judgement’ truly (and not just aiming to do it theoretically) has transformed how I make work. The pieces that were successful in this project were the ones where you could see the ghost of what happened before, there were visible false starts, visible gestural breaths across the work, often haphazard and not particularly project driven. I have learnt that the works that are laboured and over-worked or over-thought contain in it something that hasn’t actually got anything to do with the work; but it often takes ten of these works to produce one really beautiful wrist action that is synchronised with your head and heart. I have understood that intrinsically I am interested in Art as a way toward an enlightened state of hyper-awareness, both with where you exist (place or space) and then with how you make the work, tapping into the nervous system and enjoying the sensation of gesture. The Romanticised notion of the ‘Sublime’ is something that struck a chord with me; how man interacts with the world, understanding his place in it through an overwhelming experience that is based on feeling, an irreducible experience. Responding to a place specifically has taught me that this is how I would like to continue at the moment in my practise, unpicking natural systems and patterns and having a relation to the world around me, revelling in the complexity of a seemingly simple situation. 

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© 2019 Holly Nicholls