A specialist in urban landscape, English artist Nathan Walsh makes very large scale paintings that celebrate world capitals including London, Paris and New York – through their bridges and buildings, streets and monuments depicted in moments of sun and rain. Although his art has been exhibited worldwide since 2005, he now displays it exclusively at the Bernarducci Mesiel Gallery in NYC. Due to the size of the works, Nathan can only paint between two and four paintings a year.
“I’m fascinated by the chaotic nature of the modern city,” writes the artist. “The act of painting is an attempt to ‘fix’ this chaos. My paintings are not an exact record of a particular time or place. They are more a composite of information recorded over a period of activity. Buildings and people are drawn and re-drawn, landmarks shifted and a new visual language imposed onto familiar locations. The result is hopefully an alternative reality, one which is determined by the laws I impose on it.”
Nathan describes himself as a contemporary realist painter. “‘Hyperrealist’ is a seductive term,” he adds, “and I can relate to its original usage in connection with the writing of Jean Baudrillard – I want the work to be believable and convincing in a way that we might be taken to believe that this other reality exists although its actually a world of my own making. Certainly I’m trying to make a painting which functions solely on its own terms and is not mimicking something which already exists whether that be a reproduction of reality or a stitched together photograph. I believe the further my work moves away from documentation whilst still convincing the viewer of its veracity the more successful and interesting it becomes.”
The artist’s inspirations are numerous and varied – from Piranesi’s engravings to the decorative tiles of William De Morgan, the palette of Pierre Bonnard to the dynamism of a Bernice Abbott photograph. What connects all of these interests is a strong sense of structure and pattern. Although Nathan admires and has learnt from a wide range of sources, he maintains that his art must be rooted in his time and say something about being alive in the first quarter of the 21st century: “It must be made in a thoroughly modern way and attempt to present something that has not seen before.”
Having lectured at an art college in the past, Nathan has quite a close and supportive network of artist friends. “Painting by its nature is as a solitary activity,” he continues, “so the sharing of ideas and experiences with other like-minded individuals is often a healthy exercise.”
Images used with permission.