Painter Sam Nicholson has a rather powerful show called “Bring me my papers, bring me my cheese.” happening right now, a show at East London’s Gallery46 curated by Miles Tuddenham and Martin J Ticker, when you talk to the curators about it they rightly sound a little more excited than curators often do. The Gallery already has a more than healthy reputation, Nicholson may just be a new name to us, but we’ve been to enough shows at this rather beautiful space to know to trust them.
Apparently this is the the first solo show from “London based emerging painter Sam Nicholson”, for once the overused term “emerging” seems right, is this really the work of a 21 year old? There’s a boldness here, a confidence, an already knowing way, there’s guts, honour, challenge, there’s energy, (energy rather than an energy), the sense of an artist demanding something of himself, something very physical in the marks, something almost intimidating as you stand there thinking to yourself, “f*** he’s good!”.
This show pulls from the last eight months of Nicholson’s practice, reflecting government restrictions with notebook scribblings and lockdown liftings with paintings of epic scale. An inescapable relation to literature and the idea of the character lends itself to the first public appearance of Nicholson’s ceramic works, which appear to act as relics of the stories present in these paintings.
Of course it helps to have had that space to express during lockdown, some of us have been a little more lacking in terms of elbow room but really this is about what he has been bold enough to do with that time and space, without wanting to sound too patronising (which I probably am), what the hell were the rest of us doing at 21? What the hell was I painting? And without wanting to big things up too much, this is exciting.
“My work as a painter starts first and foremost as a written practice, a personal mythology curated from a panoply of stories deriving from conversations with friends and an active engagement with my own dream-space. Short stories, poems and nonsense literature, such as ‘consuming one’s spine’, help form a powerful image to transfer onto canvas. The often large scale oil paintings act to me as illustrations and manifestations of a surreal world I wish to create, that harbours the confusions and humours of this world, such as suffering, sexuality and the fragility of our everyday. To encapsulate the emotions of these aspects of life I aim to create my work quickly, drawing in charcoal instinctively and staying true to those initial impressions throughout the painting process that follows. With simple colouring and exposed canvas and charcoal, I wish to let the moment of creation act as just as much of a medium as the paint, as I believe those moments in which I mark make keep the emotions as alive in this new world as they were in ours.”
This is an exciting show, a beautifully hung show, it almost the perfect gallery, those rooms offer privacy, intimacy, each doorless door leads to more and those paintings are big in more ways than just the obvious one
I go to a lot of London shows, I see the work of a lot of painters, I see way too many paintings, you might get the idea that I gush about everything but hey, there’s a hell of a lot of very picky cherry picking going on, not everything gets covered. I didn’t know a thing about the artist save for a small taste or two on the gallery’s social media feed, Sam Nicholson excites me, his marks, his mark making, his energy, his boldness and I will admit I’m not one for dreams or eating cheese before bedtime, I’m especially not one other people’s dreams, I’m really not sure about his world but I do find myself wanting to know more about what he might find in there. Mostly I just like the way he paints, I like the instinctive way of it all and I’m kind of rush here for we only just caught the show and it ends tomorrow, nothing more annoying than someone telling you about a show that already ended (I do hope you’re reading this today). Hey, look, exciting show from a properly emerging young artists, a show beautifully hung and curated, you really should try to get to it if you can, I just like the guts of it all. (sw)
Gallery 46 is found at 46 Ashfield Street, London E1. The show ends on Sautuday 21st August, there is a late opening that night, more detsils via the gallery website…
Do click on an image to enlarge or to run the slide show…