Nicola Slattery – Wild Imagination – Exhibition 2023
Friday September 15, 2023
Private View: Sunday 1st October 2023
The Exhibition continues until: Saturday 21st October 2023
Growing up in the 1970’s, surrounded by Coventry’s concrete architecture, many childhood hours were spent living in my imagination. Whether watching black and white films, reading a book or playing make believe with siblings and friends, all helped provide alternative worlds and some sort of escapism. Along with countless other children I searched for Narnia at the back of the wardrobe. When I first read Albert Einstein’s attributed quote I immediately understood: “Logic will get you from A to B but imagination can take you anywhere.”
Leaving Coventry after graduating art school I moved to Oxford and joined a community of artists which included the Oxford Art Society. I moved to Norfolk in the mid 1990’s and rural life began with cats, dogs, hens, geese, vast open skies, lanes, fields, hedgerows and children. I love living in the countryside, encountering wildlife from butterflies to hares, foxes and wild deer. I believe they all belong as much as I do. The allure of a city will occasionally arise but a visit to Norwich, London, Oxford or Manchester will have the city girl in me ready to return to the green lanes around my village.
Imagination is at the heart of my work. ‘Wild Imagination’ is a collection of recent paintings in which imagined people and places coexist in harmony with their environment and the animals, objects and features of their surrounds. The familiar and the mysterious are combined into images that I want to exist, even if only in the imagination. Images of mankind’s inhumanity to fellow man, animals and the planet fill our screens. When I paint I want to create images that are some kind of antidote to our screens and which lead our imagination towards more hopeful futures. Nature provides endless inspiration. I want my works to live with people who feel uplifted when they see them and perhaps find inspiration to act, in however small a way, for the good of our planet.
I paint on wooden panels or board using acrylics. I’m drawn to colours of the natural world, greens, blues, ochres and reds. Artistic influences range from the unattributed medieval works of anonymous nuns through to the Dutch Golden Age, Rousseau, Chagall, Spencer and the many folk artists whose names are now lost or forgotten. My love of naïve art gave me respect for breaking some of the rules of perspective, light and so on, leaving me free to focus on mood, emotion and ideas. I was in my mid 20’s when I first encountered the work of “the king of narrative” Mick Rooney RA and have admired his work since. He allows his imagination to drive his distinct and prolific work. It is a source of great satisfaction to exhibit a substantial body of my own recent work in the same gallery he is associated with.