19 October – 6 November 2022

Private view: Thurs 20 October 6-8pm. Please rsvp to gallery.

Artist’s talk: Sat 29 October, 2.30pm. Nicki Rolls will talk about her work and influences. She will be joined by Dean Griffiths, architect and lead designer on the Northcote Nature Reserve project, who will talk about the evolution of the nature reserve as a creative response to nature and habitat enhancement within an urban setting and related community and ecology programme.

Nicki Rolls presents an exhibition of large scale charcoal drawings of flowering plants that live in the wild.

Working loosely in charcoal, Rolls aims to capture the plant’s life and movement and, for the duration of the drawing, passage through time. The plants are often drawn with their roots exposed, revealing their source of life and energy but paradoxically, also their vulnerability and fragility.

“I began the series after seeing a drawing by Jennifer Packer at the Serpentine Gallery in 2021 (an untitled charcoal drawing of a man on another man’s shoulders). I was struck by how sensitively Packer expressed the moment with so few lines and selective detail. I admire Egon Schiele’s emotive sunflower paintings as they appear to resemble his portraits, perhaps reflecting his state of mind and self.”

The wildflowers are drawn life size or larger, seeking to celebrate the majestic and to foreground smaller plants and less prized plants and weeds.

“Nothing is small in nature” is a section of a book entitled Man and Nature (1864), in which George Perkins Marsh observed that every plant has a part to play in ecology and that the destruction of even the smallest part of nature would have serious consequences for the world and its eco-system. 

Nicki Rolls is a London-based artist. She works across different disciplines, including drawing, painting, video and installation. She gained her Masters in Fine Art at Wimbledon College of Art in 2011 and graduated in a BA in Fine Art from Central Saint Martins College of Art in 2005.  She has run life drawing classes alongside her art practice for many years.

Rolls has exhibited both nationally and internationally. She had a solo exhibition at Concrete Cafe, Hayward Gallery (On and On, 2012). Selected previous group exhibitions include Royal Society of British Artists Annual Exhibition, Mall Galleries, London (2022),  Searching the Line, Filter4, Basel Switzerland (2017), Colliderscape, APT Gallery, London (2016) and We All Draw @ UAL, Bargehouse, London (2015). She was part of the touring Jerwood Drawing Prize in 2011, at which she gained First Prize Student Award and she was shortlisted for Jerwood Moving Image Award in 2007.

Works by Rolls are held in a number of UK private collections including life paintings and drawings in the collection of the actress Vivien Parry. Her moving image works were selected for national touring showreels of one-minute shorts, curated by Kerry Baldry; the showreels, One Minute (Vol 4-7), are held at BFI, London. An edition of her artist’s book, Teeny Weeny Gran (2002), is held at the National Arts Library Special Collection at V&A Museum.