Complementary Opposires

5 Jun 2018 – 16 Jun 2018

Regular hours

09:00 – 20:00
09:00 – 20:00
09:00 – 20:00
09:00 – 20:00
10:00 – 17:00
10:00 – 17:00
09:00 – 20:00

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The Library at Willesden Green

London, United Kingdom

Event map

Nicholas Cheeseman likes to record and intervene in the natural process of change. He is interested in the tension created between contrasts, and balance when they shift from one to another.


‘… they are convenient labels used to describe how things function in relation to each other and the universe. They are used to explain the continuous process of natural change … they represent a way of thinking. In this system of thought all things are seen as parts of a whole. No entity can ever be isolated from its relationship to other entities; no thing can exist in and of itself.’
Kaptchuk, T. J. (1983). The web that has no weaver

Nicholas Cheeseman likes to record and intervene in the natural process of change. He is interested in the tension created between contrasts, and balance when they shift from one to another. At its most simplistic his practice observes the relationship between man and nature, but this extends to growth and decay, soft and hard, constructive and deconstructive, internal and external, black and white and numerous other pairs of complementary opposites.

Nicholas uses drawing and embroidery to depict a singular moment of change, and sculpture to replicate the transition. Through a simple technique of pointillism, using a 0.5mm pen, he fastidiously records lines, forms and structures using different densities of dots to create tones. These works are carefully planned from photographs he takes and edits. His embroidery exchanges dots for stitches and are accentuated by the addition of colour. The sculptural works result from a more spontaneous act responding to the feel and look of the wood, its age and its grain. There is no plan or sketch for the work prior to carving. Thoughts and ideas are generated through exploring the potential of the material.

The techniques used to create the works are embedded in a language of repetition and obsession. At times they border on meditative, yet the initial stages of carving are very destructive and stitching extremely frenetic. Thus the complementary opposites that are the focus for the work are also reflected in the manner in which the work is made. This notion is infused throughout the work, evidenced in the outcomes that cannot be disentangled from their means of production.

Throughout the work there is a fascination with the aesthetic of the incomplete, the imperfect and the impermanent. Factors that usually result in objects being discarded or identified as detritus are deliberately used to challenge the notion of value. By juxtaposing materials and processes and forcing them to interact the aim is to question how value is assigned to the objects, materials and labour involved in their production.

The work is an extension of his interest in eastern philosophical practices. The Japanese aesthetic of Wabi Sabi which celebrates the beauty of things modest and humble and Chinese Yin Yang theory of complementary opposites create much of the context for the work.

Nicholas graduated from Staffordshire University in 2001 with BA (Hons) in Fine Art. In 2012 he completed an MA in Fine Art at Chelsea College of Arts UAL. In 2016 he was Artist-in-Residence at the Muse Gallery. He was Grand Winner 2017 of the East Arts Award Competition and is travelling  to Japan for a Residency in 2019. He exhibits regularly in London and in the UK, Internationally and has commissioned works installed in America, Australia and India.

Exhibiting artistsToggle

Nicholas Cheeseman


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