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From above: Nigel Cox

From above: Nigel Cox

I was drawn to the figurative paintings of Nigel Cox immediately because it seems we share a similar desire for open spaces and lack of clutter, yet with an eye for detail. He calls his particular style 'photorealistic minimalism' in which his subjects are often outside, sun-soaked, and on the move, but in place of the hectic scenery of a cityscape with buildings, power lines, advertising or even other people, they alone walk through a flat, colorless space with only their shadow for company. Nigel explains:

The figures are alone but not lonely; searching but not anxious, anticipating yet calm. They have an inner peace and strength and are at one with their surroundings. The paintings reflect solitude, tranquillity and confidence, giving every day scenes an unexpected and surreal feeling while keeping them solidly within the real world.

Cox's paintings of the subjects as seen from above are his most successful because the perspective is dynamic, but the addition of the figures' shadows add a dimension of contrast and connection to the 'real world.' Additionally, the solid neutral gray of the surface makes the figures pop, even more important when he's portraying them from an angle in which the foreshortening could easily make them appear flat. Far from flat, Cox's subjects look almost as if they are standing outside the painting, sitting on it or strolling across it.

Overall he is adept at capturing people we see every day walking down the street on the way to the shops or sitting in a park, and in spite--or because of--the lack of detailed surroundings, we connect with them. The perspective is similar to the angle we might associate with CCTV footage, however lacking any associated graininess or inherent suspicion. On the contrary, these figures, sunlit and devoid of physical surroundings, are just interesting people that we see passing by, as if from a second-story window. We wonder where they've been, where they are going, or who they might be meeting. At any moment they might simply walk off the edge of the canvas.

Nigel Cox is an artist based in London who works from his home studio, using primarily oil paint on linen.

Take a look at his website here and his blog here. All images (titles unknown) are via the artist's website.

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