I grew up on a farm in the North East of Scotland, and the inherent cruel hierarchies of the environment around me, provide me with a rich source of imagery. It is an arena ripe for metaphors and Orwellian allegory, a time and place from whose harsh realities conjure up a hallucinatory painted world populated by birds, beasts, children and people. Buildings have a sense of foreboding, or of a dangerous past, one which was out of bounds to me as a child. I source imagery from storybooks and tabloid newspapers and in this way innocence drifts into shock and cheap fear in the weightless and liquid pictorial space. The shining, bright and seductive aesthetic, made from household gloss paint and enamels belies the darker tone of the work, just as my enthusiastic swathes and layers wrinkle and drip from the canvas. A troubled mood looms over this saccharine cosmetic like the distant buildings likened to stories heard when I was young of playing children drowning in slurry pits.
“Nicola Williams' work addresses the wound in the paint's textures of welts, scars, drips, sagging and stretch marks, bruises and lumps. They are bright and glossy as fresh scabs and bruises. Williams uses tabloid and magazine images, the everyday sensational and horrific mundane cut and pasted, re-visioned in a makeover of Technicolour paint. The wounds in the painting ground are also the lacunae of the text;the fragmented images are like cautionary fairy tales set in post-industrial landscapes. The spiky lines of pylons, chicken wire fences and trees cut into the landscapes menacingly. The recurring motif of the suburban house in candy colours recalls the sinister gingerbread house, while cut down or uprooted trees seem to call a warning to immaculately dressed, idealised innocent children, curious as cats – a suspenseful ex premonition of loss of innocence. The lurid, acid colours of the landscapes are like scars of pollution, with the beauty of the synthetic.Fontana's advocation of the eradication of narrative content is refused in all of its posthuman horror:
“... Fontana’s invitations to infinity to assert itself implicitly involve the annihilation of the world of forms and individuals; they seem to reflect the horror of world-devastating war as well as the onset of nuclear endgame weaponry.”
Thomas McEvilley,- The Exile’s Return: Toward a Redefinition of Painting for the Post-Modern Era,,..p64
Williams' paintings pick at emotional scabs - that mental revisiting the site of the trauma which is necessary to recovery; they seem to be positioned within the process of healing. The work re-envisions sublimely, the gaps are there for the viewer to fill in, the wound as trace of action embodying the memory of an event. “
Stephanie Moran (Artist/Curator) – extracts from Beyond Fontana – Studio 1.1