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Rising, Setting, Rising

29 September 2023 - 5 November 2023

Nigel Smith Solo Show abstract art display at The Old Lock Up Gallery, Cromford - Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays

Exhibiting the work of Nigel Smith in a forthcoming solo show at the gallery. Nigel exhibited his work earlier in the year as part of a show exploring abstraction. Visitors loved the pieces in the exhibition and 3 sold, and couldn’t not offer Nigel a solo show – which he excitedly accepted and looking forward to seeing the gallery full to brimming with his work – which has all been specially created for the space and exhibition!

The show opens on 29the September 7-9pm – all are welcome! Nigel will be mindful painting here in the gallery on October 15th 2-5pm: no need to book – please feel free to pop in. And for those of you who are interested in the art of mindful seeing and would like to explore it further we have an evening just for you on the 29th October: to book and find out more visit our ‘Whats On’ page.

Artist’s statement

My work sits somewhere between abstracted landscape, fantasy and lyrical abstraction. I call them dreamscapes. They are meditations on nature, spirit and memory capturing moments of mood in an ever changing environment. They are contemporary visions of the sublime, filtered through abstract expressionism, East Asian art and philosophy, the majestic light of Turner and Monet… and a dash of 70s prog album covers.

I want the viewer to feel they are not quite sure what they are looking at. They may find familair motifs but be unsure if they are looking at something vast or microscopic, external or internal, underwater or out in the cosmos, in a grand vista or a local weedpatch. Nature moves constantly, ever changing, interconnected, both epic and intimate. In my art, like in a Murukami novel, one never quite knows when the familiar will slip into a twilight of surreal dreams. Who doesn’t want a little magic in their lives?

I want to express the flow of energy moving through everything in our universe. 

My main contemporary influences are Cruz Jimenez, Darren Waterston, Peter Doig, Chris Rivers, Max Gimblett, Olafur Eliasson, Roger Dean, Fiona Rae and John Walsh. 

My strongest historical influence JMW Turner. I also greatly admire Monet, Bosch, Miro, Zao Wou-Ki and Chu Teh Chun. 

In 2011 I was privileged to study with Max Gimblett, a short but mind-blowing experience that really changed the way I approach my work. I studied with Andrew Barns-Graham from 2010-2013 and Cruz Jimenez from 2013-2016. I also studied Chinese brush painting with Wei Lin Ha and continue to be inspired by the teaching of Peter Clayton.

Bio

I was born in Kent, UK and have lived in London, Leicester and Auckland, New Zealand. I’ve been painting and drawing since my early teens. I studied Art and then Graphic Design and worked as a designer for 25 years, juggling running a design practice with painting and exhibiting my art. My paintings often appeared in design projects as covers for classical CDs or illustrations for various corporate and not-for-profit clients. Gradually the art took over from the design until I was able to go full time in 2018.

I have been exhibiting my art since 2010. My work is sold through a number of UK galleries and worldwide online. It is now in collections in the UK, USA, Japan, Spain, Australia and New Zealand.  

Besides painting I’m also a musician. I made two albums back in the 90’s and played all the London dives to literally 10’s of people. I’m currently working on an ambient album in conjunction with my series of abstracts and landscapes inspired by Beacon Hill.

Despite being back in Leicester for the third time in my life I’m still a Spurs supporter.

Exhibition Rationale

Rising, Setting, Rising
The germ of the idea for the exhibition comes from a pair of paintings in The Wallace Collection in London by Francois Boucher: The Rising of the Sun and The Setting of the Sun (1752).

They fascinated me and I made many repeated visits to the collection to study and sketch them. They show Apollo moving across the sky, representing a day in Greek mythology. But of course this is also a metaphor for life – beginnings and endings, hopes and dreams, the grandeur of nature and our human potential.

I’m not really a fan of Rococo painting. All those frolicking nymphs and chubby cherubs don’t really interest me. And I suspect for the Aristos looking at them all that flesh on display was as much a titillation as it was an inspiring piece of classical learning. But something about the gigantic sweep of movement, the perfect compositions, the glorious colour and the dream-like quality kept drawing me back.

My own interests include Buddhism and East Asian art so inevitably I see these paintings, not as a start and an end, but rather part of the endless cycle of birth and rebirth that we can see in nature all around us every day.

So the exhibition is an attempt to make a kind of 360º day in the life. Start on any wall, go around as many times as you want. There is no beginning and no end. They’re just little snapshots of what I call the ‘everyday sublime’ that’s there for us all if we stop to look.

Many of the titles come from music. I listen constantly to music in the studio. The music shapes the painting and in turn the mood of the paintings inspires my choice of music (and also the music I make myself).

As the great philosopher of our times, Damon Albarn says: “you’ve been so busy lately, that you haven’t found the time, to open up your mind, and watch the world spinning, gently out of time” 

Another exciting and not to be missed exhibition at The Old Lock Up Gallery, Cromford.

Address

The Old Lock Up Gallery
19 The Hill, Swifts Hollow,
Cromford
DE4 3RF
15 minute walk from Cromford station

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Opening Times

Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays 10am to 5pm Opening times may vary, please check with the attraction for the latest information.

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