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Admitting Failure (and Exploring The Marks Left By Our Digital Tools)

The nude figure is such a dominant subject in the arts. It’s hard to forget that humans, in general, are sex obsessed perverts. But hopefully we can set that aside for a minute and start this post off with a little look into one of the subtler aspects of this imagery. Clothes offer such obvious and immediate signals about the time, the place, the status, even the mood of the people wearing them. That is pretty common knowledge, and it can be difficult to look at the image of a clothed person without quickly forming some judgement about what their clothes say (or what they may be trying to say with their clothes). If we strip away the clothes, the…
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portraitfromweb-2

Portrait From Web, Portrait From Life (2)

Two panels, each 30″ x 40″ – oil on panel

Portrait From Web, Portrait From Life

Portrait From Web, Portrait From Life (1)

Two panels, each 30″ x 40″ – oil on panel

Christine Sunbathing #3

Christine #3

72″x36″ – oil on board

And I realize, Most Of My Wounds Are Self Inflicted

And I Realize, Most of My Wounds Are Self Inflicted

Oil on Board – 36″x58″

Untitled Nude

Untitled

84″x60″ – oil on canvas

Relationship Study #1

Relationship Study #1

2 panels; each 48″x36″ – oil on canvas

Suburban Dream?

Suburban Dream?

60″x48″ – oil on panel

Nick Ward Who?

Nick Ward is figurative painter and printmaker who creates portrait based works that explores stories of the women around him. Originally from a small town outside Portland Oregon, Nick currently resides in the Roslindale neighborhood of Boston, MA. His work has twice earned him the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation grant for painting and can be found in many private collections including the Tullman Collecton in Chicago.

Statement

My work is often described as realism. However, these paintings stop quite short of – and in some areas just past – photo realism. Instead of capturing visual reality, my portraits are an attempt to capture the essence of being human. The portraits combine exaggerated characteristics with occasional use of text or vivid color as a counterpoint to the familiar forms of the human face and body. My focus is on the subjects: how they interrelate, how they portray themselves, and most importantly, how they make me feel. For this reason, I choose everyday people from my life as models. Equal attention is given to long relationships and fleeting glances; actual experiences are treated the same as invented encounters. The images are my memories – real or imagined – of these subjects.

When approaching a subject, I try to focus on the features that make each individual distinct. Each work is a study of the subject's every day routines and slight neuroses. Qualities that the subjects may not appreciate about themselves – moles, freckles, scars, etc. – I try to celebrate. I want my paintings to be a counterpoint to the retouched perfection and flawless beauty that we are exposed to every day on the internet, in magazines, and on television. For this reason the process of painting is just as important as the subjects. While the paintings appear quite realistic from across the room, they explode with abstraction when viewed from close range. The brush strokes are blended as little as possible, instead they are left obviously visible. Each color within the subject's skin tones is pulled to the surface and allowed to create chaotic patterns within the boundaries of the subject's body. Areas of interest are finely rendered, while those spaces that need less focus are left in unfinished abstraction.

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Interesting in modeling for a piece? Have questions about my work? Want to give me a piece of your mind? Email me.