“Perhaps the first thing to say about Nathan Walsh’s astonishing photorealist cityscapes is that, for all the seeming influence of photography in their making, it is, paradoxically, their distance from that medium which makes them into interesting paintings. Walking the streets, making complex perspectival drawings that subtly adjust space to make a good picture, a knowledge of art history, Bonnington in particular – Walsh uses all these means to arrive at something much richer and more thoughtful.” – Nicolas Usherwood 2007 Galleries Magazine
Walsh deals exclusively with the urban landscape and aims to present a painted world, which in some ways resembles the world we live in. He is fascinated by the city, its visual complexity and constant state of flux. The act of painting is an attempt for Walsh to fix this information and give vision to our experience of living within it.
His work aims to create credible and convincing space whilst making reference to our world displaying its own distinct logic. This space is created through drawing, which Walsh sees as fundamental in establishing a world the viewer can engage with. Drawing allows him to make human pictorial decisions instead of relying on the mechanical eye of a camera or software package. The process is open ended and changes from one painting to the next. While Walsh employs a variety of perspectival strategies, the methods are not fixed or rigid in their application. Working with a box of pencils and an eraser, Walsh will start by establishing a horizon line on which he will place vanishing points to construct simple linear shapes, which become subdivided into more complex arrangements.
By using simple mathematical ratios, Walsh can begin to describe concrete form within his picture plane. Over a period of time, he will draw and redraw buildings, manipulating their height, width or nature in relation to other pictorial elements. By introducing spatial recession to these elements, Walsh aims to present a world the viewer can enter into and move around.
Some of his more recent works deal with layers of information, whether this be the description of reflective surfaces or the combination of inside and outside spaces. This, he believes offers great potential for re-presenting reality, sandwiching what is in front of and behind the viewer together, allowing for further pictorial invention and new realities.
Duplicating the flatness of a photograph or a series of stitched together photographs is of no interest to Walsh. A camera lens will have a fixed local length and a software package will obey a set of algorithms. The reproduction in paint of these mechanical processes negates the human experience of responding to the world.