Barbara Nicholls' monumental watercolour works emerge by manipulating the behaviour of pigment in ever-increasing quantities of water. As such, their production remains consistent with that of Nicholls’ wider body of work, where she has stitched, drawn, cut, built and extracted her media from archaelogical/ architectural/geological and other sites of significance.
“Nicholls has followed the idiosyncrasies in the behaviour of her materials and has orchestrated them into resonant shapes that, while never declaring themselves in any specific identity, nonetheless touch collective memories of the experience of natural spaces, of the landscape. In that way, she formulates a new reality.”—Martin Holman
Barbara Nicholls says ‘When I create my watercolours on paper I recall places I have experienced and others I imagine as the work forms. Some seen and others sensed. I remember ancient meandering pathways; natural and man-made dams and bridges across rivers; the controlled carrying of water in aqueducts and canals; flooded fields with lines of debris left behind after the water has retreated; tide marks on beaches; cumulus clouds over hills reflected in ponds; coloured mineral and sediments forming lines on the banks of rivers; varying depths and shapes of geological layers in cliffs and quarries revealing past events and movements of the earth.