Nicola Wiltshire observes the world through her paintings; using colour, line, gesture and shape in a way that emphasises the feeling of a place, person or experience. Images that are at once familiar and dreamlike emerge through a language of bold charcoal lines, intense handmade oil colour and an abstraction of form into playful, calming and appealing shapes. Snapshots of walks, domestic interiors and people sleeping are amongst the themes used to explore universal experiences such as journeys, silence, the seasons and archetypes. Nicola’s work begins when stretching coloured and patterned fabric over a wooden frame, before priming selected areas for painting. She draws in charcoal and makes her own oil paint and soft pastels using centuries-old techniques. Each of these elements is an important feature of her work that builds up a materials-focused practice that is a colourful and poetic celebration of art’s history.

Nicola graduated in 2009 with a BA in Fine Art at University Of Westminster, London and an MFA with distinction in Art And Humanities at Duncan Of Jordanstone College Of Art And Design, Dundee. She has enjoyed successful sell out solo and group exhibitions throughout the UK including at the Royal Scottish Academy.and The Guardian named Nicola as an “artist to watch” read more here.

Nicola's work is currently represented by New Blood Art and Select Gallery, London.


Artist Statement

Colour is fundamental to my practice, as is the cycle of observing and recording everyday life. My paintings are stylistically contemporary, yet deeply rooted in art history and the rich heritage of oil painting. I use techniques that refer back to centuries-old traditions, such as making my own oil paint and pastels, but paint on coloured and patterned fabric - instead of canvas - for the dynamic and tactile foundation it lays. I am fascinated by the domestic quality of textiles and how this lends itself to my paintings, which move between traditional genres of portrait, landscape and still life.

"Nicola Wiltshire’s paintings hold absorbingly bold forms, which immediately capture the viewers’ attention. Portraits formed with use of heavy linear structures resemble expressionistic styles whilst flat colour and striking use of pattern give the figures unusual and therapeutic dimensions. The rendition of each piece lends it an evocatively striking impact. The line and form are fluid and diverse, allowing the portraits to portray illusive identities and an intriguing subjectivity. The use of colour is similarly exciting; mixed hues create muddied and pastel shades, which are placed in contrast of one another, side by side. This creates a stimulating juxtaposition of a calming sensibility whilst conversely adding ambiguous tensions."

- Sarah Ryan, New Blood Art

Using Format