Robert Nicol’s work is an exploration of imagination and storytelling, and how impossible the freedoms of fantasy actually are. Rendered in a bubblegum pop palette and with a sense of Quixotic optimism, his works depict improbable characters inhabiting Lilliputian landscapes with joyful abandon. But in Nicol’s world, freedom is absolute and without limitation. Like a game that has gone too far, his scenes take place after the first flush of innocence has faded. Cutesy people turn vicious and violent; inanimate objects come to life as a vindictive mob. Some of his characters still plod ahead with their broken Elysium, hopelessly committed to a futile existence in a world much more complex and sinister than they could ever have imagined. It is one that is blind to concepts of good and bad, underlining that no matter how well-intentioned, the human psyche remains, at its core, both dark and light in equal measures.
Robert Nicol (b. 1980, UK) graduated from Glasgow School of Art (BA Fine Art, 2001-04) and The Royal College of Art (MA Communication, Art and Design 2005-07). Selected solo exhibitions include Vous et Ici, GALLERY, Amsterdam (2013), Erebus and Terror, Cole London (May 2012), Breaking Wheel, Cole London (September 2010) and Fulham Palace Commission, The Fulham Palace Gallery, London (2008). Selected group exhibitions include Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue?, Flowers East, London (2013), Stranger, Flowers East, London (2013), Necessarily True, Garage Rotterdam, (2012), A Private Affair, Harris Museum and Art Gallery, Preston (2012), Art Rotterdam, Cole London (2012), Manchester Contemporary, Cole London (2011), Scenery and Landscape, 37PK Haarlem, (2012), Wit, Fear and Sarcasm, The Fine Art Society London, (2011), Art Hong Kong, Cole London (2011), Art Amsterdam, Art Consultancy Tanya Rumpff, (2011). Nicol is a Lecturer of BA Illustration, Camberwell College of Arts. Freelance illustration clients include The Financial Times, The World of Interiors, United Airlines, Elephant, Lawrence King Publishing, The Telegraph, Condé Naste, the Royal College of Art, House & Garden, Penguin Books, BBDO Advertising, BBH Advertising and CIMA.