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JH

Separating Menace from Innocence

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Grant Nimmo, Everyday sunshine, 2021, oil on linen, 1300 x 1610mm (framed) Grant Nimmo, The séance, 2021, oil on linen, 1150 x 1000mm (framed) Grant Nimmo, Trees, 2021, oil on linen, 1150 x 1000mm (framed) Grant Nimmo, Song of the forest, 2021, oil on linen, 745 x 595mm (framed) Grant Nimmo, Stone age, 2021, oil on linen, 745 x 595mm (framed) Focus mental powers, 2021 Oil on linen 1605 x 1350mm (framed) Grant Nimmo, Never living with total peace, 2021, oil on linen, 745 x 595mm (framed)

So, is Nimmo teasing the viewer here, with their imaginations being gently prodded in a certain direction, towards the uncanny, a deep instinctual fear (where spaces are hidden) that children are often susceptible to, but rarely adults? Or, is that idea bollocks? That a suggestion of a disturbing ambience is connected to the vegetation-loaded imagery seen in the expertly crafted paintings.

Auckland

 

Grant Nimmo
The Falling Spirit

 

7 August - 31 August 2021 (Prelockdown)

Online and ‘viewable’ during lockdown on the Ivan Anthony webpage, these seven paintings by Grant Nimmo LINK ESSAY almost all feature darkened patches of dappled bush, possibly sinister clumps of ominous tree-generated shadows that for some, might allude to Henri Rousseau’s tropical jungles (but with no hungry carnivores or reclining nudes). If you have a soft spot for Le Douanier. The painting customs officer.

They are in the vein of earlier works that Nimmo presented in an exhibition in March 2019. And so, while perhaps subtly creepy, they are definitely not alluding to suburban environs as with David Lynch. These are trees, not shrubs or lawns. Lots of them.

So, is Nimmo teasing the viewer here, with their imaginations being gently prodded in a certain direction, towards the uncanny, a deep instinctual fear (where spaces are hidden) that children are often susceptible to, but rarely adults? Or, is that idea bollocks? That a suggestion of a disturbing ambience is connected to the vegetation-loaded imagery seen in the expertly crafted paintings.

Yet, the persistent temptation is to wonder: what could be lurking in the shadows or grey fogs? The dark spaces alarm because of their impenetrability. They agitate the imagination in that they are a lot more than just trees accompanied by spaces devoid of light. They set off a nervousness, an apprehensive mood, a jittery grinding of teeth. Mysterious forest glades in mists that function as murky curtains.

If anyone tells you these works are really about painting technique and the pleasures of examining plants (big or small)—a botanical boffin’s delight; that that is the artist’s agenda—you’d best (I suggest) just walk away. I certainly would.

John Hurrell

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