American Artist Exhibits New Abstract Art Made in United Kingdom
For two weeks in November 2013, American visual artist Nathaniel Coalson is presenting a solo exhibition in Leicester featuring eighteen abstract photographs printed on canvas and embellished with acrylics. The exhibit, titled Ignes Fatui: The Light Beckons, is named for the phosphorescent light seen at night over marshy ground, more commonly known as Will-o’-the-Wisp. Most of the abstract art works in the collection were created during the previous year, while the artist resided in the United Kingdom; many are being shown publicly for the first time.
Over many years, Coalson has developed a distinctive artistic vision and an unusual creative process. Originally from Colorado, USA, he travels the world making photographs in picturesque locations, creating many images at iconic landmarks such as castles, abbeys and country estates, as well as within natural settings. Coalson often photographs historic properties managed by English Heritage and the National Trust. “Practicing photography in England has provided fantastic opportunities to produce new work,” he says. “Old stone walls, interiors of medieval castles and grand estates are perfect subjects for my abstract art.”
The images used for this exhibit were captured with professional, high-resolution digital cameras using long exposures. “I try to create each picture as completely as possible within the camera,” explains Coalson, “but my process is the opposite of typical photography—these pictures look nothing like the things I pointed my camera at. I work to give the illusion of motion to still objects and to design captivating images that show something other than what’s actually there.” The images are evocative and ethereal, many having a mysterious, ghostly appearance.
Following a rigorous editing process, selected images are printed on fine art-grade canvas. The prints are given a protective coating and mounted onto wooden stretcher bars. Coalson then paints over each print using transparent acrylics, glossy gels and texturing mediums. Some of these contain suspended glass beads, lava flakes, synthetic fibres and other exotic materials. This unique process yields one-of-a-kind, mixed media artworks with deep texture, vibrant colour and dramatic visual impact.
The exhibit opens Saturday, 9th November with a private reception at the historic Belmont Hotel near the Leicester city centre. Then, over the following two weeks, the public is invited to view the collection at the Pedestrian Gallery in Leicester’s Cultural Quarter. Kylie North, Pedestrian’s director, states, “Nat's work looks fantastic and is very much suited to Pedestrian Gallery. Although the production of Nat’s work is complex, this only adds to the initial breathtaking response and inspiring feelings you get from seeing them first-hand.” A second reception is being hosted at Pedestrian the evening of Thursday, 14th November.
Coalson says his Ignes Fatui series has been influenced and informed by the work of painters including Gerhard Richter, Jackson Pollack, Mark Rothko and Claude Monet. He states, “I want to use my camera to make pictures like they did with paint.”
Ignes Fatui: The Light Beckons runs 12th-25th November, 2013 at Pedestrian Gallery in Leicester, United Kingdom. All works in the exhibition are available for purchase. More information about Coalson’s work and the exhibition is available online at www.NatCoalson.com/IgnesFatui2013