16 September – 6 November 2021
Salt is Dutch artist Nuria Maria’s first solo show in the UK, featuring acrylic paintings on linen and canvas. Maria composed these paintings during a three-month stay in Calogne, on the Costa Brava in Catalonia. The show’s resulting warm palette of moss green, burnt pink, ochre red, hazy turquoise, earthy terracotta, and creamy whites is informed by the landscape that surrounded her. “Costa Brava has such a distinctive palette,” she says. “The rocks are red, the countryside is dark green, and the sea is deep blue, while the colours near the coast – the boats and houses – have all been washed out by the sea salt. This really affected my paintings. I also listened a lot to Estonian composer Arvo Pärt – his dark cello-piano pieces were a strong contrast with the sunny, light atmosphere.”
The eroded aesthetic of the works in Salt connects to a key interest in Maria’s practice. “To me, the faded colours suggest the workings of time,” she says. “I find it so interesting to consider what time means to people – how they respond to their memories, especially those to do with nature; I attach so many good memories to moments in nature that I’ve experienced. I find great pleasure in searching for the colours to express a certain moment from my past, and to reflect how I felt during that period of my life.”
Maria’s process begins with this search for a colour. “The landscapes I imagine always provide my intention and inform the colours I want to use,” she says. “Throughout the making of a piece, I end up repainting the work many times, covering the whole canvas in black and starting again. The original idea is almost always impossible to reach, but something else will come out of it. I never sketch; I just start, and accept that the first thing I paint will likely evolve into something else entirely by the end.”
Maria’s paintings capture the natural energy she sensed in the landscapes of Costa Brava, while their abstract nature also invites an open interpretation from the viewer: “I want the paintings to convey a warm softness, with a deeper layer underneath, and I would love people to somehow sense a feeling similar to how I felt there,” she says. “But I also don’t want to explain the work too much. If I have done enough with the painting, then the rest I can’t or wouldn’t want to influence.”
To visit the gallery, please book an appointment by following this link: Salt by Nuria Maria.