Mind Zero presents a new body of works by British artist Nancy Cadogan and marks her first solo exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery. Nancy's paintings reward those who look deeply and with care; they capture the joy of thoughtful observation, of delighting in the things we surround ourselves with. With this exhibition, Nancy goes beyond mere observation to reveal the inner workings of her mind through imagined compositions.
Nancy's paintings encourage the viewer to engage in mindful contemplation and explore how we inhabit the space, and the way one's mind flits between places, things and memories. There is an emphasis on colour and movement rather than clarity of outline, and optical effects are achieved through the balance of colour instead of perspective and shadow. Her works touch on the theme of Japonaiserie (a term coined by Vincent van Gogh to express the influence of Japanese art in his work) in their smooth surfaces and pleasing ukiyo-e arrangement of forms.
The works speak of a pleasure in the beauty of the everyday: a chine resting on a book, mugs of tea, scented lilies, splendid foliage and flowering potted plants. The arrangement of things is dreamlike but not surreal, echoing the way our surroundings often become unfocused when in deep contemplation.
More sensory than literal, the scenes suggest the way a wandering mind slips over things perceived, the way ideas are connected by objects and how thoughts spill into each other. The paintings collapse boundaries and the conscious and unconscious are simultaneously present, in the real and imagined. Colour is also used vividly; bold sections of cerulean and blue, magenta and emerald green carry the immediacy of Nancy's joy in painting. She takes pleasure in process and composition in a way that is reminiscent of David Hockney's celebratory landscapes. Nancy says,
"This is home, this is where I paint, and I am ready to share that now. We gain so much pleasure from the environments we create, the gardens we sow, the things we collect. It is often in the small details of domesticity, or in the order of our work and materials, that we find the most joy. In a way they are about how I respond emotionally to the place I live, how my mind collects images, how I analyse or ruminate on my response, then turn to painting for resolution."
Mind Zero follows the success of Nancy's 2018 solo exhibition, Still Reading at Shapero Rare Books which presented a series of intimately scaled still-life paintings, each featuring a closed book paired with an emotive object. In these, she created works that stimulated 'slow looking' encouraging the viewer to take their time.
Nancy Cadogan is a British figurative painter living in the UK. She attended City and Guilds of London Art School and Canterbury Christ Church University from which she graduated with a Degree in Fine Art Painting in 2002. Nancy moved to New York shortly thereafter, sharing a studio in the Starrett-Lehigh Building with artist Franco Ciarlo. After solo shows at Frost & Reed, New York in 2005 and 2006, she returned to the UK for a solo show at Sladmore Contemporary, London in 2008. Most recently she has featured in group shows in Miami and Southampton, USA and in The Blue Edition show in Knightsbridge, London. In 2008, Nancy was named as one of the 'Top 20 New British Art Talents' by Tatler magazine, describing her as 'the new Paula Rego'. In 2017 she was one of 93 women artists chosen to exhibit their work in The Ned, London, for its permanent Vault 100 exhibition highlighting the disparity between male and female CEOs.