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Untitled (Coastal Light)


Watercolour and gouache

inscribed to the reverse

54 x 71cm. Beige painted wooden frame.


During her most productive decade, the 1960s, Nicholson’s work became increasingly abstract, distilling elements of the landscape into primal essences, and foregrounding, like her mother, effects of light and colour. ‘Untitled (Coastal Light)’ recalls late Turner, in particular his ‘Land’s End’ paintings of the 1830s. As is typical of Nicholson, the work depends upon the interplay of forces: of the contrasts between watercolour swathes and luminous strokes of gouache; and between rapid, thrown paint that runs, and thicker, opaque application that sits firm. The work is structured around the curve form, as well as around colour, moving out of the shadows to climax in the intensity of the yellows and ochre of the centre. As in Turner, there is the suggestion, perhaps, of waves breaking on rocks, and of sunlight breaking through cloud and rain; but the painting refuses to resolve itself, and remains powerfully subtle in its abstraction.

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