"Perhaps the first thing to say about Nathan Walsh's astonishing photorealist cityscapes is that, for all the seeming influence of photography in their making, it is, paradoxically, their distance from that medium which makes them into interesting paintings. Walking the streets, making complex perspectival drawings that subtly adjust space to make a good picture, a knowledge of art history, Bonnington in particular - Walsh uses all these means to arrive at something much richer and more thoughtful." Nicholas Usherwood 2007 Galleries Magazine
The work on this site represents a selection of my output from the past five years. I deal exclusively with the urban landscape and aim to present a painted world which in some ways resembles the world we live in. I am fascinated by the city, it's visual complexity and constant state of flux. The act of painting is an attempt fix this information and give vision to our experience of living within it.
The work aims to create credible and convincing space which whilst making reference to our world displays it's own distinct logic. This space is created through drawing, which I see as fundamental in establishing a world the viewer can engage with. Drawing allows me to make human pictorial decisions instead of relying on the mechanical eye of a camera or software package. This process is open ended and changes from one painting to the next. Whilst I employ a variety of perspectival strategies, these methods are not fixed or rigid in their application. Working with a box of pencils and an eraser I will start by establishing an horizon line on which I will place vanishing points to construct simple linear shapes which become subdivided into more complex arrangements.
By using simple mathematical ratios I can begin to describe concrete form within my picture plane. Over a period of time I will draw and redraw buildings, manipulating their height, width or nature in relation to other pictorial elements. By introducing spatial recession to these elements I aim to present a world the viewer can enter into and move around.
Some of the more recent works deal with layers of information, whether this be the description of reflective surfaces or the combination of inside and outside spaces. This I believe offers great potential for re-preseting reality, sandwiching what's in front of and and behind the viewer together. This again allows for further pictorial invention and new realities.
Duplicating the flatness of a photograph or a series of stitched together photographs is of no interest to me. A camera lens will have a fixed focal length and a software package will obey a set of algorithms. The reproduction in paint of these mechanical processes negates the human experience of responding to the world.
Nathan Walsh belongs to a new generation of artists who are extending the boundaries of realist painting. His paintings demonstrate an ambitious project of combining photographic source material with the traditional skills of the representational artist. This is not easy painting but the bracing clarity of his work and the satisfaction we can derive in spending time with it shows a significant achievement. Clive Head 2007