Simon Nicholas

"The series of paintings  of gallery and museum spaces I have been working on since 2015 questions the gap between the depictions of the world as seen through paintings and the depictions of the spectators who view them in an attempt to bring the two different forms of illusion closer together. 

 A central paradox to any form of realistic depiction is that the illusion of what is depicted is usually clearly separated from the world that the illusion inhabits. I wish to investigate what happens when conventional boundaries become ambiguous,  and attempt to diminish the gap between picture and spectator.

As a painter one usually has three main ways of working: either from observation, or by intuition/ memory, or from photographs. My working process in recent years has gradually led me into a complicated and challenging area whereby I am attempting to work in the gap between these three options as they usually tend to exclude each other.

An important aspect of the work is that it is not based in any way on photographs, although the paintings appear to refer to a photographic depiction. One of my main intentions is to  attempt to construct, and thereby imply, a fictional photographic reference.

The perspective in many of the paintings would seem to imply that we, the spectators, are in fact the painting on the wall,  being observed by the gallery viewers.  And like the paradox of the anthropologist whose presence  influences the behaviour of the people and customs of those being observed, I want to reverse the situation and imply that the spectators in the paintings in fact take on the characteristics of the paintings being observed. The question might be: what kind of painting are we?

 I am interested in making pictures which attempt to combine opposites, and whilst appearing at first sight conventional, offer ambiguous readings that transform the reality of the world they appear to represent into sophisticated and endless fiction which distances us from spaces that we think we know. 

The working method is entirely dependent on “making it up as you go along”, the results more often than not being the sum of an endless series of corrections and overpaintings. " - Simon Nicholas