Connect>Create 2008

Seamus Nicolson, 'Wajid' (2000) & 'Bobbyann' (2001)

Seamus Nicolson currently lives and works in and around Harlesden, a multi-cultural and vibrant part of London. He likes to photograph the younger part of the community going about their everyday lives. The scale of the work is important, and the subjects are often people you would pass by in the street. The artist states that he likes the idea of “elevating them and celebrating them, in a way a kind of aggrandizement.”  Nicolson states that his work “is more to do with the history of art than documentary photography”. He is interested in the contrast between the painting of a noble standing on the country estate with his property in the background, and his own work, which has people from a different background standing outside the places they live and work. It is about character and location together, and has a carefully composed social narrative that informs you about the world they inhabit.


Nicolson's work can be compared to paintings of Thomas Gainsborough, for example, Mr and Mrs Andrews ( c. 1750 ). Gainsborough’s painting depicts the landscape as property. Portraits of wealthy sitters posed in a natural setting and dressed in their finest clothes were a popular status symbol of the time. They were often called a conversation piece. Robert Andrews stands proudly in the midst of his huge estate, which had just grown in size due to his recent marriage. The couple hold a very formal pose, and the play of light on Mrs Andrews dress helps it to spring to life.


Nicolson was born in London 1971. He graduated with an MA in Fine Art, from Royal College of Art, London.


By Debbie Keable, student from the BA (hons) Contemporary Fine Art Course at Hull School of Art and Design 2009.

Document icon Learning article provided by: Ferens Art Gallery, Hull | 
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