In this series of diptychs of the same interior space in differing lighting states, the shadows morph as one views a subsequent work in series. There is a double take as shadows have morphed. A syntagmatic structure is created pushing the boundary of the space-time paradigm. There is an emergence, a reckoning and a poetry of projection and perception. Like two frames of a film, capturing a sense of time.
Nocturne #1 & #2. 72cm x 102cm x 2 Gum Pastel on Fabriano Elle Erre, 2016
Working in the inky darkness with just a single lamp to illuminate the scene in front of him, James Nilsen-Misra produces fascinating and slightly eerie filmic and domestic scenes shrouded in shadows. One becomes aware of a deep, yet closeted space, underneath the shadows that draw you inward, as if you are looking deeper into an unknown and unconscious space. Working with black chalk on blacker chalk, the scenes that emerge reflect fragments of life, Nilsen-Misra queries personal projection and transparency in the public domain. Nilsen-Mira points out that, as a gay man himself, he is similarly uncertain of being completely transparent in spaces of public South Africa and at times finds himself moving in the proverbial shadows.
Staged in the studio and lit with a Caravaggesque treatment that reduces objects to flat black shadow. Viewing these works from the distance, they appear as vacant black voids, yet peering onto their black surfaces, awareness deepens of the depth of shadow beneath and one visits this closeted darkness as it lies unconscious.
Nilsen-Misra's exploration of the ephemeral nature of light and shadow seek to expose transparency and personal projection.