Australian artist Nigel Milsom paints by what he lives! He says, ‘It is all my world based on experience, not invented’. He pulls and attracts elements together to build his compositions.
The art appears as an enchanted world surrounded by; intrigue, expectation, suspense, and focal impact.
The power and energy emitting from Milsom’s art is energised by an intense focus on the subject, highlighted by a black backdrop. In fact the artist aims to accentuate the focal point/s of a composition, the surround or background being superfluous! Once Nigel has your attention, he guides you to other details and aspect of the personality of the painting.
He talks of the development of an artwork as terrifying and informs us of his love of the innocence of youth. As a child things develop without complication and a world of no inhibitions! ‘It gets harder to deal with reality as one ages’ he says. To assist him to get to the uninhibited place to paint, sometimes music can assist in that escape, ‘a quick line to an emotion’ to express his art. Although a quiet place seems essential.
For the viewer of Nigel’s art, he hopes people can relate, there is no expectation when he does an artwork! He also loathes the thought of titling an artwork with an obvious description, rather to leave that to, if necessary, the viewer to consider. He respects the viewer to interpret as they wish.
Subjects from this past decade, have been based upon his observations. This influence combined with considerable thought and consideration is the foundation for the choice and development of a subject.
Working essentially one painting at a time, insights of this recent series of paintings are as follows:
- • Black and white; tonal emphasis reinforces a style and technique where he is not looking at an overall composition! Black highlights the focus and impact, e.g. a figure in an environment. ‘It is the most extreme surface to get a result’
- • Nature; when he was incarcerated, although isolated at time, nature was evident. Nigel became fascinated with the light rays into his cell across the wall. The moon shadows indicating nature and life elsewhere is ever present!
- • Birds; here again is the reference to nature; birds sitting on his windowsill were acknowledged as messengers from outside, keeping him informed and a link to elsewhere!
- • Pairs; are an important influence, often we see paintings hung as pairs, or paired symbols e.g. birds paired.
- • Portraits; of friends or people Nigel knows.
- • Blow up dolls; witnessing the observation of police confiscating blow up dolls, volleys balls or balloons and then trying to deflate after a cricket match at the SCC is humorous! ‘Crazy fun’ says Nigel.
After a busy year post the Archibald art prize win in 2015, Nigel says there is ‘no rest for art making maybe a rest from friends’. His drive and need to create is now.
Milsom’s art is steeped in what he feels, requiring him to tune in. He is an emotional artist charged with intention. I enjoy his line and brush work with a controlled technical skill, deliberate and daring. He directs the brush to create a line or edge which I find fascinating only to be more exaggerated against the dark background. Much of his colour levitates giving the perception of zero gravity. When he chooses to build texture say with a brush stroke this is when I witness a higher skill.
It is serendipitous to have a group of paintings by Nigel Milsom available for sale at Cooks Hill Galleries for 3 weeks only; as Nigel has a solo exhibition titled ‘Nigel Milsom // Judo-House PT. 6 (The White Bird) 2014 – 2016’ on display at The Lock-Up #Newcastle until 25 September 2016. You can browse these significant works here on our website.
Yours in art,