Main gallery

Catalogue text by Max Delany

It is not by chance that Jonathan Nichols exhibition Forgetting Pictures took portraiture as its subject, concerned as it is with likeness, fixing time, the representation of psychological states and the order of appearances. Leading the viewer’s attention into the personality of the subjects and the language of painting itself, Nichols’ pictures aimed to articulate and make tangible modes of vision and looking. That the motifs of these paintings were invariably young women, sourced from the anonymous space of the Internet, only served to heighten this drama. Somehow, by painting the residual effects of the photographic, Nichols was able to foreground the historical allegiance between painting, voyeurism and control, which is both pleasurable and uncomfortable. Nichols’ embrace of the photographic — and in particular, the genres of amateur portraiture and the snap shot — related to problems of perception, memory and identification, problems that remain at the heart of painting.