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

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