Nicola Holden’s practice addresses the physicality of painting: the wooden support, the fabric surface, pigment and light. Her works acknowledge both painting-as-object and painting-as-picture: well aware of the discipline’s conventional physical constraints and historical precedence.
Colour and light are enrolled for their inherent abstraction, their unpredictability, and the impossibility of their containment. The works activate and are activated by the space they occupy, refracting and reflecting the fluctuating light qualities in the surrounding area. They act as frames; and often what is literally being framed is the wall empty surface and the light there within the painting.
The cotton surface is either left uncoloured – a maze of weft and warp permeated by the radiating light, or colour saturated by the pigment held within the fabric fibres. The paint is then applied both under, and over the surface.
Acknowledging the conventions of minimalism and geometric abstraction, the works undo any grand modernist gestures with their modest scales and delicate, translucent surfaces. The paintings are physical and present but also point outside of themselves.