Building Blocks

These were painted in respect and recognition of the minute beauty and mastery at work in the construction of the body frame. Imagining, through painted reconstructions on canvas; small clusters, glimpses and abstract suggestion of approximately 75 trillion cells that make up the human body. Tiny, industrious microscopic packages are continuously busy, moving and re-grouping, building energy and fighting off viruses… Our internal ‘building blocks’ as it were.

“Nicola Gibbons has created a series of abstract works charting the permutations of colour, tone, and contrast inside circular frameworks, mapped out in a mathematically precise grid. Solidifying varnishes contrast with translucent paint seeping between the squares like interstitial fluids between cellular walls.

Some canvases suggest the colours seen through the lens of a microscope, the technology used to determine the nature and life of all human cells. The organic fluctuations in cellular reproduction that inspire the work are mirrored in the fluidity of tone and substance. Other works suggest darker territories within the body, in hues of blood and bruised tissue.

The paint follows the process, which is a careful mapping of gridded units. The artist’s hand in the work is minimal, restricted to keeping the paint within the squares as a craft technician would guide the process of applying ink to print machinery. But the paint, like the cells that it emulates, has a life of its own. The integrity of the watery substance is evident on the canvas, here and there bleeding into another ‘cellular’unit, contradicting the mathematical substructure of the whole enterprise” – Maari McCluskey

- Exhibition at Salisbury House Gallery, Bond St, Dunedin, New Zealand, 2006