From December 16
"In the past my work has been an exploration of landscape and man's relationship to the natural world, reflecting an intimacy that is both destructive and romantic.
Over the course of the pandemic, human intimacy became a constant cultural fixation. I began exploring this by painting large human portraits of people I know and love, and also people who I do not know. The landscape of the human form, in its absence during the isolation of confinement, took on a much larger dimension in my mind until it ultimately came to fill many of the paintings I worked on during this time. This wasn't planned, it arose during the events of the past 2 years.
I prefer to not say too much about my paintings, to avoid interfering with the interpretations that occur at an individual level. It's important to me that personal, unpredictable readings arise from the juxtaposition of works.
Throughout my career I have been exploring environments— sexual, social, physical and emotional— through art. While working on excavation sites at a very young age— accompanying my grandfather, an archaeologist, on digs of ancient sites in Spain— I began to see physical landscape as embedded with meaning. Cultural and social implications lay beyond the earth's surface. I later started drawing and painting watercolours of nature, coming to know and understand alienation and isolation as emotional landscapes, and worked dismantling these places through sculpture, drawing and painting." — N.W.
For his latest painting exhibition at Galería Pelaires, A l'ombra del Tomir, Woods utilised previously worked canvasses —remnants recycled from his studio— as the foundation for a series of luminous, larger than life images in oil, oil stick, dry pastel and urethane. The accumulation of multiple layers creates areas of intersecting, turbulent surface textures that partially reveal the processes involved in each painting; the traces of previous states become a formal documentation of their manufacture. Dense, deeply textured oil colour impastos contrast with thin translucent areas of dry pastel on specially treated raw canvas, giving the pictures a curious depth and atmospheric perspective. Pictures of mostly female figures alternate with close-ups of poppy pods and flowers. The installation is punctuated with smaller framed works in watercolour on paper which are often sketches or source material for the larger paintings. Woods works and reworks multiple versions of similar images, working through ideas and drawing out different interpretations with each new iteration.
Nicholas Woods was born in Lynchburg, Virginia, USA in 1971, and his childhood was spent in New York City until the age of 11, when he moved with his brother and parents to Madrid, Spain — drawn there by his family's long connection to Spain. His paternal grandfather was an American archaeologist who excavated numerous Roman sites in Spain beginning in the 1950's. Woods' adolescent years were spent in Madrid where he taught himself to draw and paint, inspired by frequent visits to the Prado Museum. In 1993 he graduated with honours in Visual Art from Middlebury College, Vermont where he studied intaglio printmaking techniques, while experimenting with sculptural installations
and painting. During his studies he spent one year at the Tyler School of Art program in Rome, Italy.
After graduating Woods spent 2 years exploring remote landscapes. He bicycled around the perimeter of New Zealand's south island for 3 months in winter, sleeping entirely outdoors, taking photographs, making sketches, and constructing small ephemeral sculptures out of found natural materials. He subsequently lived and worked for a year in Ecuador and ultimately on the Galapagos island of Santa Cruz where he had an outdoor studio for 3 months.
In 1995 Woods moved back to New York City where he worked as a painting assistant for Jeff Koons on his Celebration series. Since 2008 Woods has lived and worked in Mallorca, Spain— and more recently, also in Ithaca, New York.
Woods' paintings have been exhibited in Europe and the United States: Galería Pelaires (Palma de Mallorca), Slowtrack (Madrid), Tim Sheward Projects (London), The Royal Standard (Liverpool), CAC Málaga (Málaga), Rena Bransten Gallery (San Francisco),Es Baluard Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (Mallorca), Galería T20 (Murcia), Galería Maior (Mallorca) and Vacío 9 (Madrid), among others.
Recent projects include the glass façade mural for the Ibiza Gran Hotel in Ibiza, and multiple works for the permanent collection of the Crillon Hotel in Paris. His work is represented in important public collections, particularly in Spain, including the CAC Málaga Museum; Fundación La Caixa; Es Baluard Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (Mallorca); Fundación Pilar i Joan Miró (Mallorca); and the Benetton Collection ( Milan), among others.
From 1999 until 2004 Woods formed a collaborative partnership with the Spanish artist Mónica Fuster, the focus of which was mainly site-specific projects, and their work was shown in numerous group and individual exhibitions in Europe. In 2004 a selection of their drawings on plexiglass was included in a contemporary drawing show at the CAC Málaga Museum, and in 2003 their installation Lair formed part of an important 25 year survey exhibition of art in Spain at the MUVIM, Valencia. In 2002 they were selected by the Palais de Tokio (Paris) curators Nicolas Bourriaud & Jerôme Sans to receive the Fundación Altadís Public Art Prize for their project Helium.