Nick Rooney (b. 1989 Canada) Obtained his MA in Painting from the University of the Arts London, at the Camberwell College of Arts in London, England. Much of his early career was spent focusing on the craft of oil painting developing a contemporary art practice deeply rooted in art history. While his current studio work and research now look at the relationship between the reductive formalism of geometric minimalism and the complexity of classical realism. He has had the opportunity to exhibit both nationally as well as internationally, most recently curated to participate in the Saatchi Gallery’s exhibition London Grads Now. Nick Rooney now resides in Calgary (Mohkínsstsisi), Alberta where he is an instructor at the University of Calgary and the Alberta University of the Arts. He is represented by Loch Gallery Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto and Ashdale Gallery Vancouver, BC.
In the spirit of reconciliation, I would like to acknowledge that we live, work and play on the traditional territories of the Blackfoot Confederacy (Siksika, Kainai, Piikani), the Tsuut’ina, the Îyâxe Nakoda Nations, the Métis Nation (Region 3), and all people who make their homes in the Treaty 7 region of Southern Alberta.
My painting practice focuses on the dialectic between realism and abstraction. I am interested in how painting as a visual language can produce such seemingly contradictory results, the convincing illusion of volumetric forms, and the extreme simplification of flat shapes. The resulting tension of combining a classical still-life with a minimalist geometric shape creates an opportunity to examine how we attach meaning to the objects around us. The more one looks, the more disorienting the experience. The objects in my work are set at an angle they are denied a stable footing in space, pulling away from their historical setting and context. Further, its relationship to abstract shapes sets up a dialogue that can make us think about how we experience pressure, weight, gravity, and light.
I am greatly influenced by and stimulated by art history. In examining museum collections, I seek out objects with rich historical and narrative meanings that somehow resonate with me. With admiration for illusionism, I am captivated by the brilliant techniques of 17th-century Dutch still-life painting. I am also drawn to sculpture from antiquity to the late 19th century. At the same time, I am very interested in the emergence of abstraction. I am aware of the denial of meaning in formalist criticism, yet I am convinced that even the most simplified shapes reflect a need to believe in more than what we can see, offering a space to contemplate emotions.
By bringing together on one canvas both my passion for historical representation and minimalist geometric abstraction, I am trying to stimulate a deeper understanding of human nature. By heightening our awareness, painting can help us to be more reflective as we try to comprehend the fragmented perception and uncertainties of our times.