CityLife Arts

Artist who loves painting nature chosen Artist of the Month

By CityLife Arts Writer

The  Southern African Foundation for Contemporary Art (SAFFCA) has chosen visual artist Nicola Taylor as Artist of the Month for June putting a spotlight on the body of her work and three of the works are n ow available for purchase. 

Nicola’s artwork is an exploration of ideas around belonging and connection. Through the natural world, and the human condition, Nicola explores the layers of her perceived reality and our common experience. Three of the following works presented are available for purchase. 
‘Connection Reflected’

Connection Reflected is a work resembling a simultaneously beautiful yet somehow sombre piece which permits space for contemplation and meditation. Taylor presents us with a large scale painting focusing on a single moment – raindrops scattered across a lens in the foreground and a large body of water which rests in the background.   

This artwork explores belonging by using the analogy that we are droplets of water as part of a larger ocean. We inherently belong. An individual’s perception is a lens and just one particle of the whole. The droplets reflect the entire scene before them, upside down. This points to the delusion of separateness.” says Nicola.

   It is difficult to interact with Taylor’s work during these currently disorienting times without a sense of longing for what she mentions as a core theme in her current art practice – a place belonging. In a contemporary world as consciously and openly segregated as we have today, Taylor allows viewers a moment of bliss to yearn after a sense of unity.

This work encourages viewers to indulge in their craving for ‘belonging’ for as long as they wish to encounter her work.  The visual language she uses in this painting is not subject to chance at all. Taylor uses carefully selected visual clues to guide us into her process. One of the visual elements she chooses is a lens, which as a visual element can relay two things : individual perception and an isolation, if we consider a lens as a barrier from what lies on the other side.

Looking through a lens is a very individualistic practice, inherently so is perception and as a result it will always manage to isolate as two people can logistically look through one lens or one ‘perception’, so to speak, at the exact same time. The individual rain droplets on the image represent the same notion of separation as they appear scattered across the lens, not touching one another. 

A second visual element incorporated in this work is the vast landscape that rests in the background, essentially the ‘peak of desire’ for this painting: the singular space where all of these former separate particles assemble and exist together in the single space. An amalgamation of the previously separated water drops, which now form part of something larger.   ‘Primordial Soup’

Primordial Soup is a fantastic demonstration of Taylor’s ability to explore different types of painterly marks on a surface. It is a courageous combat or dance between artist and artwork, where she dares to leave traces of her brush marks visible.

In this work, we are presented with an image of an abstract, rich and intimate landscape of a small symphony of leaves and trees played with ‘brio’. The dark background allows us to follow Taylor and penetrate the deeper and thicker part a forest. In this series, the artist shares with us once again her love for the laws of nature.  She begins to unpack her work for us in saying:   

“The work explores the space just before our perceived reality in the physical world becomes solid and clumsy with hard edges. If I could scratch off just the top layer, what would things look like? This is a space where atom a and b are still deciding whether to go left or right. In this space, we are all ever so slightly more connected.”  

The artist searches for connection by uncovering nature as we know it, and as a result she creates an alternate space where a harmonious utopia of connection can be brought to life. As a technical practice, Taylor reminds us fondly of the Impressionist painting era with her dynamic brushstrokes that interact with the canvas. Similarly, to the likes of the Impressionist painters before her, she uses her passion for the paint matter  to construct an ideal world in motion that she forms with her brush.    ‘Plenoptic Layers I and II’

 Plenoptic Layers I and II are both zoomed in landscape of trees overlapping each other. While Plenoptic Layers II is a slightly more zoomed out and more defined in terms of shapes and forms of leaves, Plenoptic Layers I is a closer detail, allowing the work to enter somehow the realm of the abstraction.

Looking from the first to the second work is an incredibly engaging process. As one thinks of looking ‘within’ by considering Plenotipc Layers I – all the abstracted realities occurring within the context of an individual experience, lead to a truly personal introspective perspective.

While following the artist in Plenoptic Layers II, one faces outward concepts of reflection guided by more definitive structures, interconnection and external perspective. By juxtaposing the two artworks one could enter the fluctuating battle of opposing the ‘interior’ and ‘exterior’.  We become promptly aware that all the elements in the smaller work are necessary to form the possibility of the larger work. In this way, Nicola uses nature as a tool to share with us a glimpse at the ever-present reality of interconnectedness.   Nicola Taylor’s works are a visual quest for belonging and being connected which we all secretly long for. Taylor reminds us with her talent that we all hope for the same core thing: existing together in harmony in a global space.Those interested in purchisngg the works can do so by contacting SAFFCA at – –

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