Cara Nahaul’s vibrant paintings explore the character of spaces, from quiet domestic interiors to idyllic public gardens. Her work examines our relationship with our environment, and the shifts in perception around the value of objects within and outside of her paintings.
Nahaul draws upon visual cues picked up during periods of research and travel as well as memories from her familial archive. Taking inspiration from her childhood visits to Malaysia and Mauritius, her work invites viewers to imagine how they might mine, reconstruct and reflect upon their own personal histories. The paintings presented in Impossible Garden are spaces to dismantle fixed boundaries, and suggest ways interiors and landscapes can become vessels for intimate memories or charged introspection.
Within these series of paintings, it is unclear whether we are viewing the same place from numerous angles or studying a corner of an entirely different area. Geometric blocks of bright colour lean against one another to form each space, like a house of cards sustaining the pretence of a room or building. Familiar objects and tropical plants resonate alone within these spaces, and subtly nod to the formerly far- flung and exotic as domestic ornament.
Void of people, the simplified scenes depicted in the paintings sit on the threshold between public and private realms, becoming atmospheric stage sets for the viewer to not only project their desires but also question their source. The painted frames on the edges of the canvases acknowledge paintings potential to transform space and become objects of desire themselves - drawing parallels with the objects and plants within the work.
While the paintings shift between the highly fictive and fantastically real, they allude to a personal and psychological undercurrent that quietly reverberates throughout. They warrant a closer look at the spaces we inhabit and the extent to which these are constructed architecturally and also, within our imagination.
Cara Nahaul (b. 1987, London, UK) is an artist living and working in London. She received a BA from Goldsmiths University, London and an MFA from Parsons The New School for Design, New York. Her work has been the subject of recent solo exhibitions at Trade Gallery and Christine Park Gallery. She has been selected for the John Moores prize twice, the inaugural Jerwood Painting Fellowship, nominated for the Contemporary British Painting Prize and completed a yearlong studio residency at the Florence Trust.