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Nicole Collins
Artist's Statement

Artist Statement

Painting is my subject and all subsequent readings (including my own) are subjective and incidental. The titles offer an entry, but come after the act; that is, they are suggested in the looking and reflect an observation of the process followed, as well as the influence of books, music, people, the natural world and other art that may be attracting my attention at a given time.

Each painting has its own innate practical logic that develops through a series of yes-no decisions. I lay down a ground colour. Will it be opaque? Yes? No? OK, transparent in parts then. Yes. And then it's one mark at a time. And when I am truly in attendance (which is the state I strive for at all times) I load the brush and look for the mark on the canvas. There. And there. Not there. There. Yes. Yes. No. Each mark has a reason to be there.

While, clearly, intellect plays a significant role in the process, more important is my desire to embed an emotional code into the paintings. Through a subjective and intuitive process of trial and error I am developing a language built of marks that is, not surprisingly, very difficult to quantify in words.

Recently I have been re-investigating the notion of illusion in painting. In mathematics it would be referred to as the ÔZ' axis (if X is width and Y is height then Z is depth, the diagonal). Having painted without referential images for a number of years now, I have seen the work become flatter and more opaque. The empirical notion of the painting as an object first and foremost was the central condition. But this train of thought led to an endgame and I needed a way to break out beyond that.

Space, the next frontier (by no means the final), beckoned. I'm finding it's really a matter of not connecting the dots, at least not all of them. It's leaving space and creating the illusion of space through the use of line, transparency, layering. And what space is this exactly? Location is fluid in this work and disorientation common. But these paintings are where it's at. It is a state of mind.

April 2002

The Centre for Contemporary Canadian Art
The Canadian Art Database: Canadian Artists Files

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