An Interview with Nigel Moores

17 May 2018

Ahead of the opening of The Lightbox's Bank Gallery: Personal Spaces, exhibiting artist Nigel Moores talks to us about using painting as a means of exploring his own emotions. The artist reveals his sources of inspiration and how his pursuit for the happily accidental complements his creative process.

Come and see his series of thought-provoking and emotive paintings from 5 June - 1 July 2018.


Mindscapes (one of series), Nigel Moores © The Artist

Your artwork is highly personal, drawing from your exploration of emotions. Where else do you draw inspiration from?

Yes, I think that all art must come via an emotional response and almost anything can be a trigger for it: love, loss, a conversation, or a moment that takes one by surprise. But for me, continuous inspiration comes from nature, sublime music or contemporary dance.

The notion of "landscape" has always interested me but further than that, I want to go beyond what one sees to express ideas and emotions. Mindscapes came about from the landscapes that I've studied, none of which depict a particular place but stand for the look that the geology makes possible. Without the inspiration of nature, they would not exist.

Your work plays upon the relationship between the intentional and the unintentional. How do you make the intentional look unplanned and the unintentional appear deliberate?

A difficult question, but I think it's about being in a state of mind or flow. It is perhaps why I warm up, listen to music and try not to care. Then one is leaving the accidental mark – drips and so on – only if they appear to assist the work, or vice versa, by adding marks that make the accidental ones look planned. The process just goes on.....and on.


Prelude to "Dance to the Music of Time", Nigel Moores © The Artist

Which do you prefer painting – intentional or unintentional lines? Why?

One might argue that they are one and the same, but I am distinguishing between the carefully considered mark and those done in a state of flow or frenzy. I almost always prefer the latter. It's almost as if I hadn't painted it.

You work across various different mediums, but your colour schemes are predominantly calming and soft. Is this deliberate? What do these colours mean to you?

Yes, I do like different mediums (my preference is painting with oil) and I do seem to have a palette preference. It’s interesting that you say "calming and soft" – I often think it's strong, but harmonic. Colour equals emotion for me; colour is music; colour is capable of anything.

You say you paint to communicate what you can’t say. How does painting help you to express what you feel can’t be said?

Perhaps it’s because painting, like music, transcends the oral language and communicates emotions more directly to us. Perhaps it is simply because I am just not as eloquent with words. If I could "say it", I would want to be a poet.


Oil detail, Nigel Moores © The Artist

Do you try to focus each painting on a particular emotion or do you use conflicting moods to develop contrasts within each painting? Why?

I’m sure that's right but I don't stop to think about it. Sometimes I find myself calmly making a start to a piece and other times I go in and attack the painting with energy and even frustration. Instinctively I’ll knows what mood I’m in and therefore which work will be best to tackle. Mistakes do happen though! Emotions are complex and varied – that’s why I have so many pieces on the go at any one time.

Each painting, for me, must have a dominant mood or emotion, which the subject demands. Until that subject and emotion comes across, back at me, then the piece is not working. I call this part of the internal logic of a painting.

Do you have a favourite artist or piece of art?

I could name many whose work I admire and constantly look at. The whole of art history is absorbing but if I had to choose just one, it has to be Howard Hodgkin (whom I have met a couple of times). Not only is he the best colourist I know but his application is sensuous and the subject is revealed slowly. The last painting by Howard Hodgkin that I stood in front of was called 'Afternoon'. It was in the Hepworth Gallery in Wakefield, last year.

You are exhibiting a painting in Bank Gallery: Personal Spaces. What does the title 'Personal Spaces' mean to you and how did this translate into your painting?

My personal space is my studio but for this exhibition I've chosen to look at the idea of the painting as a space to enter, playing with scale and the notion of abstraction as a valid "landscape" to enter. 


'Looking at Art' (one of series), Nigel Moores © The Artist

Nigel Moores will be exhibiting a series of paintings, titled 'Looking at Art' in The Lightbox’s Bank Gallery: Personal Spaces exhibition from 5 June – 1 July 2018. His wonderful paintings – and the other artworks on show – will all be available to purchase.

5 June - 1 July 2018
Free entry, suggested donation £3

Banner image: Purple Rain, Nigel Moores © The Artist

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