Nick Goss (b. Bristol, 1981) is an Anglo Dutch painter whose (essentially figurative) paintings suggest apparently contradictory readings. On one hand there is the recognisable specificity of objects and environments rooted in factual, documentary reality: a photographic starting point perhaps, or an archival image offering an intensely palpable sense of place or experience. On the other there is always something more liminal at play–an uncertainty and otherness that never quite explains itself. As Goss puts it, 'I love that permanence and instability, it is what I'm really interested in. The sense that the past is very close, that you can almost touch it'.
It is in this ambiguity and sometimes dreamlike strangeness that these images reveal their power and presence. They have an unreliable relationship to time, being connected to memory and a kind of nostalgia, and yet existing precisely in their own moment. They are built slowly, wet on wet, in thin layers of often muted pigment over screen-printed images, with small shifts of focus that simultaneously coalesce and fragment. At times they slide towards abstraction in form, but never in mood, which almost always remains resolutely tangible.
As Hettie Judah says, in a new essay for a book to accompany the exhibition, 'Goss's works often evoke what he terms 'non-places' – zones between the land and the sea, places of departure and arrival, vessels and vehicles – a state of mind as much as a physical location...while there are relationships to locations in the real world... each is used as a vessel for a feeling or a collection of sense responses, as though Goss was using them to help pin down a fleeting feeling experienced in a daydream. The peculiar alchemy of his paintings lies not in their ability to convey the atmosphere of an actual place, but to construct an image of a location that evokes a kind of déjà vu. The feeling comes before the work.'
Press release courtesy Ingleby.