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Connect, Didier Aaron Gallery, New York

2015

From one side, the painter Nigel Van Wieck appears to be the proverbial “Englishman in New York,” having discovered Old Master aesthetics and made them his own since 1979, when he immigrated to the U.S.  But from the other side, we see the quintessentially American practitioner of contemporary realism he has become during those same three and a half decades.

Composition is Van Wieck’s primary concern because it supports his narrative: “I am a storyteller and the viewer is my audience,” he explains, “but before then, while sitting at the easel, I am the audience member who must be drawn in.”

Seemingly taken from real life, his scenes are, in fact, what John Arthur has trenchantly called “carefully edited constructions.” While composing, Van Wieck consults live models, photographs, and clippings, but usually relies upon his memory because, he believes, “reality is much better when it is imagined.”

—Peter Trippi

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