Sunday, September 28, 2008

George Nick (Slater's Pick)

George Nick was recommended to me by Professor Thielker after reading my semester project idea.  Nick is a realist oil painter that has been around for nearly six decades.  He was born and raised in Rochester, Ny where he was innitially torn by the prospect of becoming a physicist of a musician. Nick has always been a very curious mind and has thrived on the notion of investigating and understanding all that is available to him.  Upon coming into himself as an artist, Nick recalled, "because I was interested in the world, art seemed like a good way to learn about it."  It is Nicks passion for knowledge and discovery that is reflected in his works.  Nick is best known for his raw and honest portrayals of the greater Boston area through urban landscapes of trains, cars, streets, buildings, etc.  However, unlike many of the conventional painters of Nicks time, Nick is bored with the "studio life."  He much prefers to be one with nature and all that it has to offer him.  Nick is inspired by light, and life's fleeting moments.  In order to capture these fleeting moments Nick goes to great lengths.  It is quoted that Nick "has been setting out-sometimes daily, usually, an hour before dawn-in an outfitted, over sized truck-large enough for him to stand and walk around in-customized with picture windows on either side" in order to truly capture what catches his eye.  Nick does not believe in settling with his art work.  It is the thrill of not knowing where his next painting will be that excites and intensifies his art work.  He must feel a true connection what he is seeing and be able to paint at that moment in time.
Similiarly to Duane Michaels, George Nick also has strong beliefs about his art.  While Nick focuses on different subject matter and uses the medium of oil paint in contrast to photography, it is their passion for art and wanting to communicate to the viewer that connect these artists.  Michaels is driven behind the idea of setting a mood and evoking meaning behind his works.  Similiarly, Nick is driven to show real moments in time and believes that he must do whatever it takes to relay that moment to the viewer even if it means traveling in a "studio on wheels" up the east coast.
While I am Struck by Nick's ability to honestly render an urban landscape, it is his passion to capture the immediacy of life that has recently inspired me as an artist.  While I am focusing on the urban landscape as well, my focus of the Worcester train is much more narrow that Nick's paintings of New England.  Additionally, while I can admire Nick's realist style, I intend to make my paintings looser and more impressionistic.  However, Nicks works have inspired me to take a closer investigation of the Worcester train station and possibly paint en plein aire rather than paint from a photograph.


Janna said...

The first painting reminds me a lot of Edward Hopper in its style and the scene it's portraying.

A lot of these look like they could have been painted in Worcester. It seems like this was a good inspiration for you with your subject matter. It will be interesting to see what you do with impressionistic painting for Worcester trains since usually people think of more natural settings in impressionism.

Kate said...

Similarly to Janna, I saw the Hopper influence right away in these works. I also love the nostalgia associated with the images, expecially since it's not that all-too-pervasive, Rockwell-esque faux nostalgia.

I'm also interested in your reference to how Nick is interested in real/fleeting moments, but the paintings (at these these) show no human bustle. It might be this starkness that makes me like these works. It suggests to me that "real" moments exist for the buildings and structures themselves, independent of the people inhabiting them.

Casey said...

"because I was interested in the world, art seemed like a good way to learn about it."

This quote really caught my attention because I think that most people go site-seeing when they want to learn about the world, or they read about it online or in a book. I think that by exploring the world and filtering it through your canvas as you take it in puts a really interesting perspective on learning about the world and at the same time adding your own twist or personality to it. I think 'learning' about the world through art is a cool concept that goes beyond just 'exploring' or 'seeing' the world with art.

Heather said...

I spent a great deal of time last semester photographing the Firenze Train Station. A train station is such a high action place I have found a lot of beauty in the two extremes of depiction, of completely going with the motion of the scene or pausing all of the action to give your viewer a calming moment. These paintings do exactly the latter for me, create a serene moment where there normally could never be one (busy streets) and that is where I get a sense of beauty from.

On the opposite side of the coin I feel Monet found a similar beauty while still capturing the movement of a train station.

Nicole Rejwan said...

I too immediately saw the hopper influence in these works. I also think it might be helpful for you to look at a pictures and paintings done during the industrial revolution. I know there was a huge reaction to all the development