Nigel Bird –landscape and making

NIGEL Bird, whose recent work is on show at The Slade Centre in Gillingham, is absorbed in the reality and the experience of landscape. The exhibition, ‘Product and Process, runs from Saturday 29th April to Saturday 10th June.

Gallery owner Anne Hitchcock says: “At an early meeting, while looking at work which might feature in this exhibition, Nigel said: ‘I wish my work could be as big as the open air.’ I have recalled the remark several times in recent months for it sounded so strange, but the more I have learnt about this artist and his work, the more apposite it seems.”

Nigel Bird’s work originates from the landscape, not simply the visible landscape but the landscape which is experienced through all our senses. He translates the experience into making: “My recent work is as much to do with the process of making as it is about what I see, hear, smell, taste, feel or touch..”

He makes drawings, often large and always black and white, because, he says, “colour is a distraction”. He uses scraps of paper, wax, pencil, felt tip pen, Indian ink, charcoal, a jigsaw blade, a record player, even the needle of a hypodermic syringe, which makes marks going round and round …

“I wanted the sound of rain to influence the making of a drawing, so I worked dripping ink onto paper whilst up a ladder. The bigger the marks needed to be, the higher I needed to climb. The lines below the spots of ink were slowly drawn by hand; a total contrast in terms of making.”

A full-time artist since 2006, Bird has work in hotels and private collections in France, Greece, Hong Kong, Moscow, London, Germany, Switzerland and the USA. For many years he lived and worked in the south of France but is now settled in Gillingham.