Saints and Sinners. The many
faces of Gavin Nolan.
Nolan dredges up references mixing actual with fable, celebrity
with intimacy to make complex portraits of a disturbing nature.
Nolan's skill in this work is to bring together the history
of portraiture in to one single painting. The twisting and
morphing cubism meets surrealist, Velasquez meets Bacon meets
Nolan. With disturbing qualities of recognition, the complexity
and layering in the portraits belie an arresting monumentality.
in Gavin Nolan's portrait paintings hit you in your guts as
the piercing eyes penetrate right through you. There is no
escaping the intensity and articulation of these paintings.
In Oscar Wilde's Picture of Dorian Gray as Dorian yields to
temptations, it is the painting which carries the scars, becoming
the true reflection of the man. Dorian Gray's good looks stay
intact as he descends in to depravity, the portrait though
never lies as his real character is given away.
There is a familiarity
in Gavin Nolan’s portraits, composites of the good and
the evil in our lives, Jesus, Bin Laden, Lauren Bacall, the
famous and infamous from the depths of history to the bloody
now. You kind of feel it but can't quite place it, the recognition
is illusory. The portraits are real.
Jamie Robinson. 2006