Nicola Moss: “Affirmation of the wonder of life around us”

In June 2022, Gold Coast-based artist Nicola Moss spent two weeks in London. It was the height of the English summer, and the urban green spaces were resplendent. Making the most of the warm weather, Moss walked through the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, Chelsea Physics Garden, Hyde Park and The Regent’s Park. “These London gardens and parks inspired a feeling of well-being,” she says. “With everything that is happening in the world it felt good to find places that could inspire a feeling of love.”

Immersing herself in nature is a priority for Moss, and it’s a key influence on her practice. Directly inspired by the plants and gardens she saw in London, Moss’s new paintings are flooded with “many shades of green, pink, yellow, chartreuse and deep shadows of inky blue and red-black”. Works like Summer Love, 2022, are filled with organic shapes, textures and colours reminiscent of a well-tended garden, grown slowly over time and layered with history. “I like to think the works carry whispers of love and a feeling of wonder that marvels at life’s fecundity,” Moss explains.

Nicola Moss, Summer Love, acrylic and paper on linen, 152 x 224 cm.

Using a variety of printed papers and acrylic paints, Moss also incorporates collage and stencils to capture the silhouettes and textures intimately connected to nature and the places she visits. While in London she was “drawn to collections of succulents and orchids” found in glasshouses like the Temperate House in Kew. Deeper within the city, the pockets of green space in Hyde Park and Regent’s Park offered places of solace for Moss, and this sense of calm is imbued within her paintings. “Choose Love is an affirmation of the wonder of life around us, the simple joy that contact with nature can bring to our everyday lives.”

Choose Love
Nicola Moss
Arthouse Gallery
6 July—22 July

This article was originally published in the July/August 2023 print edition of Art Guide Australia.

Preview Words by Briony Downes