Jersey’s Private & Public Gallery is staging the last of three blockbuster exhibitions for autumn 2020. The exhibition is opening from Friday 27th November to Saturday 19th December and follows the hugely popular ‘Best of British’ and ‘Urban Interventions II’ exhibitions.
‘Dear Water’ by one of Jersey’s preeminent painters, Nicholas Romeril and showcases a year’s worth of intense studio practice for which the outcomes are truly spectacular.
At a time of uncertainty this exhibition will provide a huge boost for visitors to the gallery spaces as the artist depicts, in hyper-real oils on canvas, his ongoing fascination with the sea, ice, mountains and light.
In his introduction to the exhibition, catalogue gallery Director Chris Clifford says; ‘The sea is deeply rooted within the human psyche. It is plainly a ‘fluid state’, a place of transition and transmutation and it is, should you share Darwinian perspectives, the place from which we all came.
Is this why the artist Nicholas Romeril is drawn back, time and time again to the seductive allure of the ocean? In the womb we swim in salty water and when, as adults, we dive into the deep blue ocean our identities instantly become blurred and we emerge feeling like a ‘new person’. It’s as if the sea has cleansed our soul and taken away the stresses of modern existence.
For as long as we humans have made works of art we have found an affinity with the sea and its sense of the sublime. The earliest ‘creation myths’ from the Maori and Haida begin in oceans and for modern artists and writers that deep narrative is a seductive pool.
In Shakespeare’s The Tempest, after the opening storm, which turns out to be a theatrical effect summoned up by Prospero, Ariel tells Ferdinand that his father, the King, lies “full fathom five” and has been made immortal by the water, becoming a kind of baroque jewel in the process. “Of his bones are coral made. Nothing of him that doth fade but a sea-change into something rich and strange”
It is Shakespeare’s ‘rich and strange’ that has for centuries captivated writers and artists, from Herman Melville to Derek Jarman, from JMW Turner to Virginia Woolf. And it has captivated Nicholas Romeril too. In this, his third exhibition at Private & Public Gallery, the artist presents unquestionably his finest works to date which tell the story of his emotional connection to water whether it be frozen or fluid.
Entitled ‘Dear Water’ this exhibition is best described as a mid-career retrospective of his very best paintings. Nicholas Romeril has made huge technical advances in recent years and as the French author and winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature Andre Gide once said; “Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore”.