Sunday, 22 August 2010

Meeting the artists: Nina Royle

I first discovered Nina Royle when I decided to go to the BA Degree show in May 2010, at the Slade School of Fine Art, home to some of my favourite Modernist artists, such as Wyndham Lewis, Paul Nash, Mark Gertler and Christopher Nevinson.

Through the hustle and bustle of students at the show I saw Nina's painting To Surround. I stared - or more appropriately - fell into the work like Alice falls into the rabbit hole, the sound draining away like someone was turning down a radio. In slow motion my vision was sucked into a distorted, purple-grey room in which stood three doors or spaces closed up by bricks. I was floating in the space, looking at three choices of doors to run out of, yet knowing I couldn't get out through any of them - I was trapped. If this sounds more like a dream than a painting that is because Nina's work takes you to a similar place - one where your sense of space and time has been dramatically rearranged.

The work reminded me of a photograph that appears in David Lynch's film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me. At night time the photo given to Laura Palmer by an old lady opens into a bizarre other world. Watch the scene from 'Fire Walk With Me'

Photograph from 'Fire Walk with Me'
Nina’s paintings take you into a world that, disconcertingly, is familiar yet unfamiliar. They make you consider the space around you in its purest form as if for the first time, creating a range of feelings from calmness to uneasiness. The way she speaks about her work is so inspiring: serious yet light-hearted; modest yet calmly confident. It is clear that her work is completely a part of her being. I can honestly say that her work has taken me to new places and I am incredibly proud that she is taking part in this show.

Clara Cowan

To Surround, Nina Royle

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Meeting the Artists: Giulia Ricci

Giulia Ricci is that rarest of artists: one who writes and speaks about her art as well as she makes it. She is also distinguished by the fact that her imagery is  intimately and genuinely bound up with, and born of, her experiences, her life, her cultural reference points.The rural patchwork of fields in the countryside of Emilia-Romagna where she grew up, the famous mosaics of her home town of Ravenna, all these things have seeped into her, and subsequently into her work.

Giulia is currently artist in residence at a north London gallery, which is where we first met her (her installation is scheduled for display in October, (and more information about this project will be available nearer the time). We immediately fell in love with her work; with its shifting, kaleidoscopic patterns and its ostensible geometric austerity which, on closer inspection, reveals itself full of human and organic qualities with its densely-worked cross-hatching. Like one of those amazing hand-carved woodcuts of cold, rational, industrial machinery by Edward Wadsworth.

Giulia epitomises the kind of artist we had in mind when we started Folie à Deux: one who is ‘one with their work' and who creates objects of real beauty.

Monday, 2 August 2010

Meeting the Artists: Nina Mankin

 Back in October 2006 I was showing some small linocuts at the Candid Arts Trust’s Contemporary Art and Design Fair. Among my usual pictures of telegraph poles, pylons and other industrial detritus was a tiny black and white print called Adolescent, depicting a girl gazing out into a black space thinking about… what? Difficult to say…

To my surprise, this little print proved to be quite popular. A certain Nina Mankin, artist extraordinaire and one of the nicest people you could ever wish to meet, left a comment about my prints; we became friends and Adolescent now hangs in her living room. We have stayed in touch ever since, usually meeting up at gigs by her equally talented other half Moss who we hope will be playing at some point during the show...

Nina’s work taps into people’s dreams, frailties and secret inner lives, and like artists of the avant-garde (Ettore Colla, Kurt Schwitters) manages to conjure magic out of elements discarded or taken for granted by mainstream society. If you haven’t done so already you should all check out her beautiful website and get yourselves down to her current show at Livingstone Space in Hampstead, which is open until 7August. We visited the show on the weekend and there are a few pictures below:

Nina's work

We are very pleased to have Nina, with her infectious enthusiasm, on board with our project.

Chris Adams