‘Road to enlightenment’ by Nick Carrick - 2021
An original painting by artist Nick Carrick
Oil on canvas - framed
The surface is created by adding layers and sanding away showing traces of what was before, this acts as an excavation of the surface giving a transparent look. It works as a metaphor for the layers of memory one has when returning to the same places over again. Each layer acts as a memory.
Dimensions: 36cm x 30cm including frame
When looking for subject matter for my paintings I am searching for an emotive response. This can be from holiday snaps, a walk, old photographs, newspaper clippings, or a historical painting.
I have a plan chest in my studio full of reference images which I keep knowing that one day I will use them. As time passes these images can become distorted, lose their original referent or alternatively turn more poignant. They can take me back to a time from which I can access emotions within those things. There is an ontology happening within those images.
The process of the paintings plays a big part too. When starting a new work, I make a fast expressive fluid painting capturing chance aspects within the paint and brushwork. I then add multiple layers and reinforce the image and distort it through washes of paint. When dry, I sand the surface down and add bleach. This process is a physical manifestation of the memory working. Only certain things can be seen, I view this as searching for gold or excavation for the treasure remaining.
My biggest recent source of inspiration is Spain, where we have been going with family for most of my life. We go to the same place but travel around from that spot in the Valencia region. I'm fascinated by Spanish culture, the food, and landscape. I started to document my journeys there five years ago, making sketches, pastels and oil paintings on paper, then making large-scale works in my studio back in Hove, East Sussex.
Using memory as a tool to develop my paintings, I've always been interested in travel and new discoveries. In 2006, I was invited by artist and great friend Tom Hammick to do an art residency in Newfoundland Canada, which prompted this interest. I'm also influenced by artists that travel, Van Gogh and Gauguin in Arles, Doig and Offili in Trinidad, Bomberg in Spain for example. This human need to escape but also reconnect resonates with me and now more than ever is a universal want, I believe.
During various lockdowns, I found new inspiration in Sussex. Going on solitary walks and cycle rides, I've been searching for new subject matter within the changing seasons and landscape here. I'm also reading literature on the philosophy of walking like Walking by Henry David Thoreau and Wanderlust by Rebecca Solnit, making new works relating to these writings.
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