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Esquire Magazine“The Wet Look” Louisa Buck Feburary 1999

I ‘m trying to get the same buzz from my paintings that I get from surfing,” says Nick Gammon, a 40-year-old artist about to exhibit his recent “Ocean” paintings at London’s Stephen Lacey Gallery. Gammon, who used to surf for Wales, is part of a small but serious surfing community based in the far west of Ireland (“we’ve got 80 miles of coastline sewn up”) and claims the sea is his obsession. “The relationship between the sea and the work is enormous - it’s inescapable here, and it’s the link between my painting and surfing.” Although Gammon enjoys the optical shimmer that his repeated small blue rectangles make, he feels their impact is more to do with how the brain processes colour; and this comes from the artist using his head to rule his hand.A bit like his approach to surfing, where it is the brain, rather than the body, that rules the waves.......

London “Sunday Telegraph” 21/02/99
John McEwan

“.........Nick Gammon’s stripe paintings have an unmistakable colour and authority, now extended by the first two of a proposed set of seven Ocean paintings; he does not depict the sea, he suggests the always thrilling experience of seeing it.”

 

London Evening Standard 20/01/99

The iridescence of water is the inspiration behind Nick Gammon’s new work. One set of paintings depict gentle tidal waves of colour. The larger-scale Ocean Paintings are made up of tiny blue rectangles which like Bridget Riley’s abstract lines, seem to rolll accross the surface of the canvas.

 

Sunday Telegraph Review 9/2/97 "Free Range is Better Than Battery" John McEwan

........... But the Moores, with its lengthening history, has a prestige all of its own. “Hockney in ‘67, who knows in ‘97?” is the question on this year’s fly-sheet.
It is encouraging to report that the latest Moores shows a renewed sense of purpose. The reintroduction of the great dinner announcing the winners - discontinued years ago after the winning artist got drunk and a member of the corporation died of a heart-attack - represents a vote of confidence. And the committee, which included George Melly, has selected the best collective show for years - cutting 1,800 entrants to an all-time-low of 48.

.........Abstracts Anonymous prevail amongst lesser prize winners with the honourable exceptions of Tony Bevan, Gary Hume - winner of this year’s Jerwood Painting Prize - Callum Innes and David Leapman with a better painting than the one that won First Prize last time. Those who can justifiably kick the cat for not being chosen (for a prize) are Basil Beattie, Neil Gall, Nick Gammon, Alan MacDonald, Chrls Ofili, Amanda Thesiger, Virginia Verran and’ Blaise Drummond, with his appealingly idiosynctatic variation of a 19th-centuary map of the Mormon trail westward...........

 

Munchner “Suddeutsche Zeitung” 28/1/98 “Die Ruhe des Ozeans” Anne Goebel

FELDAFING - Er hat ihn vertnißt. Nicht ganz so, wie befürchtet. Doch es war schon ein schwieriger Moment, als Nick Gammon am letzten Tag des vergangenen Jahres einen Abschiedsblick auf dieses Blau warf. Auf die Weite, die manchmal türkis erscheint und manchmal grau. Weit weg vom geliebten Ozean sollte ihn die Reise bringen. Als er dann, am Ziel in der Villa Waldberta angekommen, den See durch die Baume schimmem sah, war der Stipendiat aus dem Norden ziemlich froh. Denn ohne die Nähe zum Wasser zu leben, ist für Nick Gammon eine schlimme Prüfung.Wie wichtig Natur und Meer fur Gammons künstlerisches Schaffen sind, ist nicht auf den ersten Blick erkennbar. Die Werke des gebürtigen Walisers, der schon auf einer Halbinsel im Westen Irlands wohnt, sind abstrakt. Schmale, hohe Säulen aus Leinwand, mit geometrischer Struktur, mit farbigen Rechtecken in unterschiedlicher Große und Anordnung überzogen, bilden die Totem-Serie. Auch in Feldafing hat Gammon drei solcher Arbeiten gefertigt. ,,WaldbertaTriptychon” heißen die jeweils aus zwei Teilen bestehenden Werke.
Trotz des Titels sind religiöse Aspekte nicht das eigentliche Thema des 39jährigen. Doch der Rückgriff seiner Bildersprache auf biblische und kirchliche Symbolik ist deutlich: Die Anordnung der drei Exponate, die beinahe bis zur Dekke des hohen Ateliers reichende Doppelsäule in der Mitte und die beiden kleineren rechts und links, erinnert an ein Kreuz. Und ihre langgestreckte, himmelwärts sich reckende Form gleicht der in die Vertikale strebenden Linie gotischer Kathedralen.
Über theoretische Fragen wie diese gibt Gammon höflich, aber ohne rechtes irisches Feuer Auskunft. Echte Begeisterung kommt erst auf, als es um Wirkung, Farben, Dynamik, kurz, um das Leben der Werke geht. Der Künstler nennt das ,,the work works”, die Arbeit arbeitet. Und tatsächlich ist Bewegung ein wesentlicher Bestandteil des Triptychons. Die Kombination der Farben, das Wechseln der kleinen Rechtecke zwischen Grün und leuchtendem Orange, zwischen Rot und samtigem Violett versetzt die Totems in ein vibrierendes Zittern. Der Dialog zwischen den Pfählen, die mal symmetrische, mal entgegengesetzte Aufnahme einer Farbkombination an anderer Stelle verstärkt den Eindruck der rhythmischen Lebendigkeit.
Die Intensitat der Farben ändert sich je nach dem Raum, in dem Gammons Werke hangen. Und je nach dem Licht, das in den Raum fällt. Das Spiel mit Helligkeiten und Schatten kalkuliert der Künstler ein, darin liegt das Geheimnis seiner Arbeiten. Vielleicht hat er das dem Ozean abgeschaut, der nur wenige Meter von seinem Atelier entfernt auf Irlands Küste zurollt. Auch die See variiert ihre Farbe: Je nach den Sonnenstrahlen oder dem düsteren, unvermittelt zur strahlenden Bläue wechselnden Himmel. Und noch etwas erinnert in den farbintensiven Bildern Gammons an das Meer. Blickt man aufs wogende Wasser, so erscheint es anfangs bewegt und flimmernd. Irgendwann wird das Bild ganz leise, es stellt sich Ruhe ein. So auch bei Gammon: Tänzelnde Strukturen glätten sich nach lä ngerem Betrachten zur kontemplativen Stille.

 

Art Monthly “Hard Edge “ March 1996 Mel Gooding

“..... [these paintings] contain no seashells or undersea caves, no blinding sand or wild winds or superstitions. . . no trace or taste of lobster or turtle, mangoe or mongoose, no rum or coca-cola, no bamboo or barracuda ... no tropical fish or fowl. .. sea or sky-scape, no abstractings from nature, high or low or still life...” When Lawrence Alloway (much later) told Ad Reinhardt that he liked ‘this exuberant list of denials’ that the artist had included in a 1949 catalogue note for an exhibition of paintings that had been made in the Virgin Isles, Reinhardt, the rigourous proponent of ‘art-as-art’, replied: ‘Yes, but the funny thing was they were in the paintings’. ......... Nick Gammon’s marvellous Totems, formally deliberate in their symmetrical colour-pattern counterpoint, seem to absorb light and regenerate it as intense colour, as layered atmospherics create magnificent sunsets. ............

..........The resemblance between things dissimilar is what Wallace Stevens called ‘one of the significant components of the structure of reality’. He had in mind a structure not geometrical, without hard edges, a structure like thought, or memory.

 

Sunday Telegragh Review July 28/ 7/96 John McEwan

Cross Currents, Concourse Gallery , Barbican Centre: Artists from Reed’s Wharf GaIlery, notable for its championing of abstract art, particularly abstract painting. Trevor: Sutton’s tonal zones and Nick Gammmon’s bright strips mark the limits, both in colour and subtlety. Smaller works by the artists can be seen in the kinder daylight of Reed’s Wharf Gallery, Mill Street SE1 (O171 252 1802) until August 29. The gallery is on the shoreline and it is perhaps no coincidence that the work of many it’s artists - Janet Nathan’s gritty collages, Jason Gathorne-Hardy’s mud paintings - has an estuarine quality. From £500.

 

Welt am Sonntag 11/8/96 Ulrike Grunwald

........Die meisten Werke kosten zwischen 1000 und 4000 Pfund. So auch Nick Gammons “Green and Orange Totem” , dessen blendende, krass aufeinanderprallende Farben die Aufmerksamkeit des Betrachters fesseln. Das Werk ist für 2900 Pfund zu haben.........“Nach den ersten zwei Wochen der Ausstellung besteht an über 16 der 53 Gemälde ernsthaftes Interesse und vier sind bereist verkauft”, so Stephen Lacey, Kurator der Ausstellung.

 

Financial Times 23 /7/96 “Colourful Statements of Intent” William Packer

“.... a broad range of serious engagement by some 16 artists both old and young, from the hard edge dazzle systems of Nick Gammon to the lush and atmospheric expressionissm of Diane Howse.....
....Solipsistic as ever, the image comes out of the process of making and marking and goes round and back again. It is the character of everything in this intriguing show.”

 

The Daily Telegraph 24 /4/95 Laura Stewart

“...London Galleries throw open their doors with a spate of new spring shows this week. Visual melodies are worked out with Nick Gammon’s colour keyboard paintings at the Blue Galery.......”

 

Time Out Magazine March 17-24 1993 David Lillington

Living alongside the various new species of artists (with their ironies, their ‘deconstruction’ and X -ray vision) are the traditional, constructivism-influenced abstract painters. They survive by adapting, by learning to look in two directions at once. Nick Gammon’s stripe paintings are garish, to suggest frivolousness, but also hold out the idea that colour is a positive force on the psyche, as abstractionists have always claimed.
Similarly, the mathematical aspect of his composition is deliberately spurious. (there’s nothing wildly significant about the series 2, 8, 16, is there?), but also shows unrepentant respect for the work, if not the theories, of earnest serialists. The paintings don’t look like landscapes and have no nameable light effects (they are more like outsize piano keys in the colours of golfing umbrellas), but it is clear that landscape and light are being referred to. All this works well: the strategy is successful. Gammon’s work is loud. It has its ironies, but it also has weight. Painting isn’t dead, it just keeps mutating.


Sunday Telegraph Review 28/3/1993. John McEwen

..... Nick Gammon is another young painter with a commendable show of new work, at Berning and Daw, 8 Flitcroft Street, WC2, (until March 31). He is an unabashed colourist, so it is no surprise to learn that until recently he was Sir Howard Hodgkin’s studio assistant. His strident abstractions take the form of variously arranged bands and stripes, clashing and harmonising by turn. He too looks back - to Sixties painting - but invests it with his own colour-saturated vitality and building-block assertion. He now lives in Ireland and entitles his pictures Uisce, Erse for’ ‘running water’; a worthy metaphor of their medley of constants and variants........