Mercer Chance are proud to present an exhibition of new paintings and drawings by two emerging artists and fellow alumni of The Royal Drawing School.
In these charming works deceptive simplicity begets space, openness and a wonderful lightness of touch that dances across each different subject with a sense of easy grace.
Nikki’s brushwork seems almost faltering, yet utterly deft and concise in its ability to create pastoral and personal scenes from the drag of bristles across coarse paper, or the pooling, blotting and bleeding of subtle inks. They seem like urgent observations whose liveliness is undiminished despite the deeply considered approach to composition and mark-making.
Alex’s work is brought to life by a warm sense of humour and astute, thoughtful observations that delve straight to the simple essence of any given subject and seem to celebrate the co-existence of the absurd and the everyday. A sophisticated use of colour grounds the playfully simplified application of paint.
“All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players…”
Witnessing a scene is the starting point. The artist’s theatre is the page or sheet on which she reconstructs the play, using light and brushstrokes to find some sense of equivalent for the experience of seeing the world. Colour and marks may correspond to reality, but the drawings are a separate thing existing on their own terms. Stains and strokes act for figures and landscape like a language or hieroglyphs whilst remaining simply the residue of the brush. The arena of the page tracks the discoveries, accidents and pleasure of moving from the internal world to the external and back.
Nikki Gardham studied at Cambridge School of Art before attending The Drawing Year 2012–13 at The Royal Drawing School. In 2014, she was awarded the Moritz-Heyman residency in Tuscany and Dumfries House residency in Ayrshire.
Drawing is an integral part of the artist’s practice and he draws from observation and imagination. His subjects derive from his immediate surroundings, which are then developed into paintings, images and animations. For this exhibition he has focused his drawings on spaces where people are engaged physical activity, which has coincided with his own interests in swimming, football and running. From these drawings and his memory of these places he has created a series of paintings and an animation.
After studying illustration at Middlesex University, he completed The Drawing Year at The Royal Drawing School in 2013, resulting in a residency at Dumfries House in Ayrshire in 2014.