1 - 29 February, 2024
This online exhibition introduces the works of British artist Nicholas Marschner (b. 1995) ahead of the artist's solo presentation with the gallery at Art Brussels, 2024.
Nicholas Marschner's enigmatic scenes seem to occupy the ethereal space that exists somewhere between the periphery of our collective memories and the uncharted territories of the night. Populated by silhouettes whose relationships are unclear and set against dreamy theatrical backdrops, Marschner’s paintings expose the fragility of the human experience and the interconnectedness of our existence. The paintings stem from recollections of real moments that have moved the artist and people he has encountered, finding them alluring or compelling. They point to the artist’s realisation of our dependency on others and his desire to excavate the significance of past events. The act of painting itself, returning over and over to the same motifs, functions as a way to elaborate and understand significant memories, coming to terms with the failure of such recourse and the impossibility of ever fully knowing why we remember or forget.
It Can't Be Any Other Way, 2023
Oil on canvas in artist's frame
30 x 40 cm
11 3/4 x 15 3/4 in
'When we went and sat down in the room at the top of the house, it became clear that something wanted to be said yet in your suffused omittance it became clear how it could only continue in this way. I'm not sure why you believe so many things like this had to be kept from view, all these boxes seemed to open up something that might have been here, yet I knew it was all best to be left there. When I think back, it seems that so many of these objects reflect a space in and of itself - some seeming quite disparate, some in subtle continuity with each other. Worlds resembling a quiet rage or an unspeakable envy, scenes we have come to remember. As was said of so many evenings.'
- Text by Nicholas Marschner
Untitled (As We Were Aimless We Had To Take Some Kind Of Aim), 2023
Oil on canvas in artist's frame
11 x 16 7/8 in
28 x 43 cm
The intricacies of Marschner’s painted surfaces, which alternate between the dense congestion and the sheer lightness of their washes, and the deliberate ambiguity conveyed through gaps, silences, and ruptures within the images, point to the artist's desire to leave questions unanswered. The prolonged formulation of ideas behind each work, sometimes spanning months, is reflected in the gradual overpainting of the images, where the figures become shadows and narratives are deconstructed to the point of disappearing. This process is revealed also through the handmade frames, which often become extensions of the painted surface, showing how the act of resolving an image might have happened in an expanded period of time. Thus, omitting as much as they reveal, the paintings become an act of repression akin to the process of filtering through faded memories.
"I try to capture the feeling of the lost and found with these paintings, the intentional imprecisions in the handmade framing reflect the emotional impoverishment entailed within the images I depict. They might have been discarded at a prior date to only be re-found again someplace within my mind, or in a dusty corner of my studio. Or rather there were perhaps pauses in the creation process, reflecting my ambivalence towards the idea of completion as a whole."
- Nicholas Marschner
Despite the lack of formal education in painting, Marschner was drawn to the medium for the infinite possibilities it allows. His painting process reflects this and is, in fact, marked by constant experimentation in the application of paint to imbue an elusive quality to his imagery. Marschner's knowledge of the medium is derived from practical experience gained during a period working in a workshop, where he observed decorative painting techniques for the repair of antiques. The unconventional path taken by the artist, characterised by time spent working in factories and other labor-intensive jobs, has afforded him a unique detachment and, at times, a fortuitous naivety that manifests in his paintings in the form of a particular pathos.
"A pathos is something I would associate with my paintings, or rather the painful realisation of a certain kind of dependency on others." - Nicholas Marschner
b. 1995, London
Lives and works in London, UK
2014 – 2017 BA Product Design, London Metropolitan University
2022 Intimations, Filet Gallery, 2022, Curated by Sarah Green, London (UK)
2023 Radio Silence, Split Gallery, Curated by Andrew Kernan, London (UK)
Babele, Spazzio Musa, Curated by Caspar Giorgio Williams, Turin (Italy)
2022 House On Mars, Collect Art Fair, London (UK)
2020 20 Turlow Place, London design Festival, Curated by Peter Marigold (UK)
2019 On Growth And Form, Filet Gallery, London (UK)
2017 20x30cm, Ace Hotel London, Curated by Modern Design Review (UK)
Photo by Theo Zeal