Call for spaces Featuring Nolan Drew
By Areum Kim
The entrance to Nolan Drew’s studio is guarded by ceramic pots; his passion to create permeates his living quarters, and it has become impossible to separate Nolan from his work. On the kitchen counters, cupboards, floor, and walls are his pots and paintings which, despite the difference in medium, share a visual structure. Rough gestural marks and earthen tones constantly appear throughout his work; in them there is a love of materiality that results in a complex buildup of marks, texture, and gestures.
Exploring the relationship between ceramics and painting is important to Nolan’s practice. Indeed, his ceramics become a canvas that is literally flattened by the brush; marks are baked in, inseparable; however, his paintings are not centered on the strokes but around a layering of materials and forms. In the end, his works are visually fragile since each part, whether a piece of building material or wood, threatens to detach itself from the rest; and yet, the inherently fragile ceramics are built heavily, giving incredible weight to the objects.
Nolan’s visual language spills outside his ceramics; the studio walls are covered with expressionist murals: big brushstrokes of every colour are layered consubstantially with the crass forms of his pots and paintings, and, with no more room left, the murals gradually creep onto the ceiling. These gestures hearken to the 1950s expressionists and the idea of artistic beauty, for Nolan’s focus is on his work’s aesthetic autonomy. Such aim for beauty is manifest in his embrace of the raw materiality of clay.
Photos by Geoff Campbell