The talk by our tutor Nigel Grimmer on his career to date and the images he has created along the way was truly fascinating. From his early work with the ‘Nigel doll’ to his latest ‘Nigel mask’ work there is a constant theme of self examination into all the different aspects of his persona and the things that influence him. Interestingly when someone described his work as narcissistic Nigel didn’t see the connection. I can see both sides of this, after all the doll and mask are of Nigel, and the latest work placing the Nigel mask on a well toned male nude perhaps offering a sense of wish fulfilment, could be seen as narcissistic. Listening to Nigel’s explanation that the work responds to a pre conceived idea of what a family image should show, I’m afraid I got a little lost and was not convinced.
His dunces set was much more interesting, as all his subjects were responding to a set of orders given as if they were dunces ordered into the corner of the room. This dictated how the subjects would behave and thus set the composition for the image. I wondered if the same technique would result in similar images if the subjects were of strong willed characters more used to disobeying authority.
Nigel’s work has a strong family connection and his deconstruction of the classic family album is a great vehicle for exploring all things that make us who we are. The work does though at times seem very personal and perhaps reveals more about the artist than the art.
His work is none the less fresh and inspired and I look forward to gaining some insights from him and incorporating some influences of his work in my own practice.