11.05.07 — 03.06.07 ‘Groundwork’, Nicky Neate

Nicky Neate was born in Kenya in the 1960s during a time of great cultural and social change. Sixties Pop Art values were in great contrast with the strict apartheid structures of ‘Colonial Rule’. This contrast and the nomadic nature of her early life has shaped Nicky’s current artistic practice. Her family moved from Kenya to Uganda, but were forced to flee in the early 70s under the rule of Idi Amin. They settled in the Netherlands where she lived for 7 years before moving to London in the 80s to train as a painter and later as a printmaker. Her current practice combines printmaking, painting and sculpture.

Nicky Neate’s work is deeply involved in the investigation of printmaking process and the transformation of materials. She treats the canvas or ground as an etching plate, exposing it to actions that mimic naturally occurring processes by oxidizing metal powders with sea water. The resulting images are often abstract – combining organic lines with shapes and symbols produced by found objects, the original purposes of which are being eroded. She completes the process by taking prints from the canvas, questioning the relationship between positive and negative space and the limits to which an image or object can be reproduced or transformed before its original trace is lost.

Her sculptures take their starting point from found objects harvested along the banks of the Thames and the roads around South London. Sometimes, the ground itself is incorporated into an image or an object, as in City Monument constructed from slabs of road dug up outside her studio.

Nicky Neate views her work in symbolic terms – the importance of memory and the transitory nature of life are implied through the re-appropriation, transformation and disappearance of found objects. Childhood influences are also evident, particularly in her use of colour which references the African landscape she grew up with.

Nicky Neate will be giving a talk about her work at Man&Eve on Thursday 17th May at 7.30pm. Tickets can be reserved by emailing info@manandeve.co.uk.