Nicole Fearfield | New Juju, 2024


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Artwork: New Juju

Artist: Nicole Fearfield

Size: 93 x 185cm

Medium: acrylic on canvas

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SKU: NFkite Category:


Winner of the 2023 Revival Art & Design Emerging Artist Prize!

This artwork was created for the exhibition ‘Moving Colour’


For Nicole Fearfield, painting is the embodiment of freedom. Her work is driven by memories of foreign adventures, having travelled the world from the age of 19, visiting Europe, The Middle East, Asia and the Pacific. When she paints, she relives the sensory experiences of certain places: ‘the sun on my skin, the smell of basil on the breeze, the ambient sound of the locals,’ conducting these recollections through her brushstrokes.

Impressions of possibility and abandon underpin these memories: ‘that wonderful feeling you have when there is nowhere you have to be, nothing you have to do.’ It’s this sensation of being untethered which relates to her other key inspiration: the ocean. Being in water is a restorative act for her: ‘Floating or swimming makes me feel alive and at the same time at home. I often wonder if this is why it’s so easy for me to tap into a flow state when I paint.’

Fearfield’s process begins with a meditation which allows her to access an intuitive mindset. Afterwards, she says ‘I know what to do: what brush to reach for, what colour, what medium, without really thinking about it.’ Her work is often led by colour, and she enjoys pushing her palette, experimenting with both harmonious and complementary schemes. Her paintings seem to glow with an inner light, which is achieved through Fearfield’s skilful layering, curating a beautifully balanced palette that promotes kinetic boundaries and colour vibration

The blank canvas excites her; it’s the epitome of choice and possibility. Her first marks are automatic words that allow her to follow positive channels of thought. A starting colour will announce itself, which inform those that follow, Fearfield building her composition through considered choices of palette. ‘The colour that begins the painting is often the opposite to the one visible in the final layer. For instance, I know that if I pick up a dark red initially, I will end with a dark green. Every layer of paint building to a complement.’

For Fearfield, painting is about ‘finding aliveness,’ conveying her wonderful lust for life. Her initial stages are governed by energetic brushstrokes which tune into her feelings of spontaneity. She is a physical painter, her marks exploding from full-body movements. Her dynamic and textured surfaces are created through using a variety of tools, from different-sized brushes to sinking her hands into the wet pigment. Her pieces are constructed through a process of layering, building up and knocking back the paint to discover new visual relationships. Once the initial free stage of creation is over, there is a more considered period of decision making. She takes her time simply looking at the piece, assessing what is needed to create visual harmony.

She is an artist concerned with balance. The freedom of her work is anchored by a tightness of composition: frenetic mark making is tempered by continents of colour; the low values are uplifted by the high; an energetic surface is counteracted by

subtle layers. This tension between release and consideration create works with an emotive power.

Striking from a distance and complex up close, Fearfield’s paintings act as ocean pools, pulling the viewer towards them to discern their ever-revealing depths. ‘It’s like when you meet a new person,’ she says, ‘you are attracted by their surface, but it isn’t until you get closer that you see the qualities which make them who they are.’

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