Bowl of Bollacks by Mark James Nicholls
Original painting. A classical still life? Or cartoon balls?...
Bowl of Bollacks
Size: measure in centimetre
20cm x 20cm
Medium: oil on canvas
A classical still life? Or cartoon balls?
A comment on the choices of modern male beauty? Hairy or not hairy?
Or an emasculation? What did happen to their owners?
A palette of restful, purples and pinks? Or a livid and painful trophy?
A comment on the pointlessness of opinion? Or just a bowl of Bollacks?
Mark James Nicholls. UK
Mark J. Nicholls is a contemporary artist who lives and works in West Cornwall. He was born and bred in Newlyn, where he also now supports his living by running Jelberts Ice cream shop in the summer months. This provides him the winter time to totally dedicate himself to his art. He currently works out of an historic artists studio, also in Newlyn. Nicholls studied Fine Art at the University of Brighton, followed by an MA at the Royal College of Art. He has participated in group exhibitions in the USA, London, Bristol and Cornwall and has had solo exhibitions in London and Cornwall, most recently at Daisy Laing Gallery, Penzance. He has been the recipient of awards from The Arts Council, South West Arts, the Daler Rowney Drawing Award and a studio residency in the USA, amongst others. Nicholls’ work is characteristically robust and visceral but his composition and use of colour vividly demonstrate his painterly technique. Classical portraits and still lives are rendered in bright purples and oranges and muted greys and his familiar pictorial motifs such as clock-faces, shoes and cigarettes feature prominently. His work is based on the human condition and using figuration as a base-point. As Nicholls says, “I like to make work that first and foremost pushes, excites and surprises me. I feel my job as an artist is to not illustrate or decorate but to make work that provokes and entertains in the way that art makes possible.” As a graduate of the Royal College of art, Nicholls’ influences are undeniable. Picasso, Bacon and Philip Guston all make appearances but Nicholls’ adds his own absurdist and contemporary perspective to a familiar iconography. Nicholl's own take on classical portraiture is a feature of his work, and the Pope is now a regular in his cast of characters. From Velasquez to Bacon to Nicholls, his Popes are now more grotesquely comic than their previous iterations. However for all its art historical context and contemporary cultural reference his work retains a powerful energy and vibrancy that stems from Nicholls’ instinctive and almost automatic approach to creation. As he says, “I am unsure why and what I am doing painting. But the need to make images is stronger than ever”.
You can see Nicholls's works in our Exhibition.