Exhibition Catalogue: Nicholas Herbert 'Silent Spaces' at Alan Kluckow Fine Art April 16th to May 10th 2016. Twenty-six mixed media landscapes.
‘Silent Spaces’ is an exhibition of a series of small, intimate, self-contained landscapes inspired by the chalk uplands of the Chiltern Hills by the artist Nicholas Herbert, who uses his physical and emotional experiences of this area to capture the essence of the landscape, its enduring mass, transient atmospherics and ephemeral qualities of light, as well as his own meditative thoughts, personal memories and those subconscious responses that he inevitably takes from having been there. Integral to these works are ideas of the ancient, the mythic, the residual, permanence versus impermanence, decay and renaissance. Solitude and exposure are intrinsic conceptual strands within many pieces.
Through a process of intuitive mark-making, sedimentation of material, textural surface layering and precisely modulated monochromes, he interprets the fundamentals of the topography, revealing its underlying, elemental nature: ancient, primitive, timeless, and unforgiving. He uses modest materials; a fusion of graphite, pencil, acrylics, gouache, chalk and soluble crayon on paper. The colour palette consists mostly of organic, neutral, desaturated and ‘unpretty’ pigments, which consciously de-romanticise the finished pieces. The working of these materials into the paper, sometimes degrades and scuffs the surface, adding to the texture and immediacy of the work. These works invite contemplation and reward prolonged examination and deeper engagement.