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Barbara Nicholls | Crosswinds

12 May - 10 June 2023

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Meakin + Parsons x Hannah Payne is delighted to announce Crosswinds,  a solo exhibition of new paintings by British contemporary artist Barbara Nicholls,  from 12 May – 10 June 2023.


Barbara Nicholls’ monumental watercolour works emerge by manipulating the behaviour of pigment in ever-increasing quantities of water and wind. Founded on technical experimentation in painting and experiences in nature, Nicholls' immersive paintings recall ancient geology, organic forms, and the movement of water and sediment, using pools of vibrant colour.


Nicholls’ practice is inspired by time spent experiencing nature in remote places, particularly walking in the Peak District near to her studio, observing the elements of the landscape and nature in the English countryside. Nicholls’ paintings echo elemental movements of the landscape, the shapes and tones observed in the earth, water, and weather.


In Crosswinds, Nicholls considers the changing direction of winds in nature and in landscape.

Nicholls comments: “In most of the works in the exhibition there is paint entering from all sides, from the four edges and these are like winds blowing in from different directions and creating turbulence in the central area of the works. I am also referring to the local winds, the breezes that I aimed across the works using fans in the studio when I made the work.”


Wind and the elements are considered more generally within the paintings; Rebel winds made by buildings or land masses breaking up laminar winds and causing turbulence, erosion of rocks over thousands of years by winds, or trees set in a particular direction by the prevailing wind. She is also thinking metaphorically about how the word crosswinds implies something we have to deal with which is unusual; Something coming from the side that we have to make adjustments for in order to carry on in our planned direction. 


The title of the exhibition refers to the artist’s recent reading on the subject of ‘The Cross-winds Rule’ in Tristan Gooley’s book The Secret World of Weather (first published by Sceptre in 2021).  The cross-winds rule is the  important signal that bad weather often follows when clouds are seen moving ‘at right angles’ to those at another level. Gooley explains the cross-winds rule with a literary demonstration found in Thomas Hardy’s Far From The Madding Crowd:

The night had a sinister aspect. A heated breeze from the south slowly fanned the summits of lofty objects, and in the sky dashes of buoyant clouds were sailing in a course at right angles to that of another stratum, neither of them in the direction of the breeze below…Thunder was imminent, and, taking some secondary appearances into consideration, it was likely to be followed by one of the lengthened rains which mark the close of the dry weather for the season.


Barbara Nicholls studied at Goldsmiths College for a BA Fine Art (1982-86), University of East London MFA (1996-98) and Practice Based Doctorate in Fine Art (2000-06).


Image:  Barbara Nicholls, detail, Untitled, 2023, 109 x 90 cm. Watercolour on 638 gsm HP Saunders Waterford

Barbara Nicholls | Crosswinds

12 May– 10 June, 2023. Private View: Friday 12 May 6 – 8 pm.


Location: Meakin + Parsons x Hannah Payne, 16 North Parade Avenue, Oxford, OX2 6LX

Gallery open times: Tuesday – Friday 10 am – 6 pm, Saturdays 10 am - 4 pm. Sunday - Monday, closed.

Contacts: Hannah Payne - / 07883300278

Ben Parsons - / 07432 801 256



About Barbara Nicholls


Barbara Nicholls studied at Goldsmiths College for a BA Fine Art (1982-86), University of East London MFA (1996-98) and Practice Based Doctorate in Fine Art (2000-06).

Barbara Nicholls has exhibited in the UK and internationally including at Patrick Heide Contemporary Art, UK (2022), The Jetty Museum Windermere, UK (2022), JGM Gallery London, UK (2020 & 2019), Aleph Contemporary, UK (2020), The Turnpike, Leigh, UK (2019) Städtisches Museum Galerie, Wesel, Germany (2019,) The New Art Gallery Walsall, UK (2017), Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery NSW, Australia (2017), Museum Kurhaus Kleve, Germany (2015), Griffin Gallery London, UK (2013), Tourhaus Romberg Park, Dortmund, Germany (2013), Emerson Gallery, Berlin, Germany (2013), Dok25a, Düsseldorf, Germany (2012), Projektraum-bahnhof25, Kleve, Germany (2012), KARST, Plymouth, UK (2012) Pavillon am Milchhof Berlin, Germany (2011), APT Gallery London, UK (2008), Imperial War Museum, London, UK (2002). 

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