Nick Archer: Dereliction

30 October - 4 December 2021

Private View | Saturday, 30 October 2021, 4 - 7 pm

Unit 102, 225 Anfu Lu, Xuhui District, Shanghai 200031


CHRISTINE PARK GALLERY is pleased to present Dereliction, a solo exhibition of new paintings by Nick Archer. It will be the gallery’s second show at the new space in Anfu Lu, Shanghai. In all works, the viewer straddles the paradoxical worlds of Beauty, Decay, Nature and Humanity. 



  1. the state of having been abandoned and become dilapidated

  2. the shameful failure to fulfil one’s obligations


Nick Archer’s works contain a simple image of a form, natural or man-made, in a state of change. However, it is the process of how the paintings are made which reveals the subject matter.  Both the imagery and process come together to create paintings about ‘Dereliction’ as a ‘state of having been abandoned and becoming dilapidated’, which hint at the condition of our environment, and ‘the shameful failure to fulfil one’s (Humanity’s) obligations’ to protect our surroundings.


The paintings are created in a highly figurative manner, but whilst the paint is wet and vulnerable, Archer starts a process of destruction of the image by pouring solvent in a random manner.  The latter runs across the surface breaking up the image in a random way, creating abstract passages of paint and revealing qualities of the surface below. The choice of surface is therefore an important element to the paintings. In addition to traditional canvas, the artist uses unconventional surfaces such as black sand cloth (also known as silicon carbide or carborundum paper or cloth) and copper plates. The materials are chosen for both their aesthetic qualities and their industrial nature.


The revealing of the surface and colors below the image give a sense of entering another world through the veils of paint. This effect is enhanced in the new body of works through the use of black and white imagery alongside areas of rich color. The idea was influenced by cinematic use of the technicolor process on black and white film to create a sense of dream and other worldliness. Movies such as the classic Wizard of Oz and Wim Wender’s Wings of Desire are pictures Archer pays tribute to.


Archer’s imagery is drawn from many sources that are digitally combined to make layers on Photoshop and then used as reference material to create paintings. The power of nature and its sublime qualities are a central force within these paintings. Despite the decaying nature of the forms which catch the artist’s interest, the artistic method displays a beauty in the handling of the paint.


Archer is not attempting to capture a particular place, form, or time in his new paintings. Instead, he is seizing a notion or idea of these in a grander sense, elements in our imagination which refer to traditional fairy tales and time gone by.  When the focal point is a caravan, a vehicle or run-down cottage, they possess human qualities. However, those forms are in the process of being reclaimed by nature, alluding to both a world out of kilter and a more disturbed state of being. When the subject matter is the figure, the strength of Archer’s language takes us to the same enigmatic place.


About the Artist


Born in the UK in 1963, Nick Archer studied at the Royal Academy Schools in London. He received several awards, including the Hunting Art Prize, the BP Portrait Award at the National Portrait Gallery (London), and the Figure Painting Award at the Discerning Eye Award. He has exhibited extensively in the UK and Europe.  His paintings were presented in several international art fairs in the US and Japan and were featured in museum exhibitions including the National Portrait Gallery, London and the Wandsworth Museum, London. His works are included in several international private, corporate and public collections, including the Satellite collection of the Hermitage Museum (Moscow), the Historic Royal Palaces at the Tower of London, and the Al-Sabah Family Collection (Kuwait). He lives and works in Rye, East Sussex.