By Mark McConville
THIS BRITISH artist’s hyper realistic three-metre-wide paintings of New York City, which can take up to a year to create, will be featured in an exhibition in September.
The stunning artwork almost looks like a photograph with the intricate detail involved and depicts 59th Street Bridge, NYC at 6am and Times Square.
Other amazing images show the artist hard at work creating these masterpieces as they go from a simple drawing on a page to the slick finished article.
Nathan Walsh, from York, England, will have his solo exhibition, New York Paintings, at Benarducci Gallery from 6th to 29th September 2018.
“I’m interested in New York because of its visual complexity and this is reflected in the work,” he said.
“The act of painting is an attempt to ‘fix’ this chaos and present something new world the viewer can enter into.
“They do contain a lot of information often combined from different sources, on-site photography and sketchbook drawings.
“They also contain elements taken from different dates and this is in order to universalise the experience of being within a modern city.
“The paintings are large because I need them to have a certain physicality that a viewer can relate to. The spaces depicted have to be coherent and convincing as an alternate painted reality.”
Walsh is best known for his large-scale paintings of major cities which at first seem hyperrealistic but which upon close examination involve a careful manipulation of time and place.
After taking several trips to New York Walsh became inspired to take the city where much of his artistic career blossomed as his muse. The exhibition is a celebration of the urban landscape and the works included in New York Paintings feature many of the cities iconic landmarks and busiest intersections – from Times Square to Dumbo in Brooklyn to 69th Street on the Upper East Side.
Walsh typically spends a sustained period of time, often days, photographing a particular space or intersection before creating postcard-sized sketches that bring together different aspects of the location he is working to portray.
“The paintings can be very labour intensive,” he added.
“The largest paintings, ‘Catching Fire’ and ‘Peninsula’ took almost a year to make each. I spend six days a week in the studio for often long hours.
“For the smaller paintings I tend to average making between two and three a year. Over the years as the work has become more spatially complex and the surfaces richer in terms of texture and mark making they seem to be taking longer to make.
“The modern city seems alive with potential for new and dynamic subject matter. You don’t have to go looking for it, it’s all around us.
“I believe realist painting and painting in general doesn’t have to be revivalist, it can be a contemporary position. This is a visual statement outside social commentary or political agenda.”
It’s no wonder the paintings take Walsh so long as the aforementioned Catching Fire is 135x275cm and Peninsula is 170x340cm.
Catching Fire, a large-scale depiction of Times Square was made over the course of several years. The work captures the passage of time, through a painting that depicts a place that is at once familiar and invented.
To create the painting Wlash photographed Times Square over the course of several years, ultimately compiling his favourite perspectives from roughly 300 photographs to create a coherent representation of the space. The work depicts signage that is imagined but captures the visual language of Times Square.