Bewildering Reflections and Perspectives Shift in the Hyperrealistic Oil Paintings of Nathan Walsh
In his intricate oil paintings, Nathan Walsh captures the textural sheen of rain on city streets and luminescent reflections in cafe windows. The artist has previously explored different vantage points in elaborate cityscapes, rendering the corners of buildings, corridors of skyscrapers, and expansive bridges in detailed, two-point perspective. Recently, he has further honed ideas around perception and the way the built environment presents uncanny optical illusions in the interplay of people and objects, light, and reflections.
The ideas for Walsh’s compositions often form as he wanders the streets of cities like New York and Paris, making sketches and taking photographs that he brings back to his studio, a converted Welsh Methodist chapel. “Up until last year, my work had been exclusively devoted to the urban landscape,” he tells Colossal, sharing that various objects like those spotted in an antique shop window in Paris’s 7th arrondissement signaled new references to his ideas around place and familiarity. He says:
I would travel, collect information, then return to my studio to respond to that material. “Metaphores” started in the same way: a trip to Paris, wandering aimlessly around the streets looking for ideas. On my return to the U.K., I realised a lot of the photographs and drawings I’d made were touching on similar subject matter to [my] home environment.
Pieces like “Metaphores” or “Rue de Saints” represent a shift in Walsh’s understanding of the urban landscape or more concisely, of how it is experienced. Elaborate window reflections warp our sense of space and fuse realism with imagination, such as in “Monarchs Drift,” in which the artist has spliced together scenes of New York City and San Francisco. Walsh imbues the works with what he describes as a “hallucinatory quality which is ‘neither here nor there,’” embracing notions of transition, global connections, and his own memories of trips he has taken.
Walsh’s paintings will be featured in a forthcoming book published by Thames & Hudson dedicated to urban landscapes, and you can find more of his work on his website and Instagram.
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