Windows, Nick McPhail


Nick McPhail:Window

Nick McPhail:Window


Signed on reverse

Oil on canvas

48 x 36 inches


Nick McPhail’s practice centres on transforming our quotidian environment into richly textured, vibrant scenes which lend fresh perspective to these everyday points of view.

His paintings often act as snapshots of the surrounding environment, pictured from a closely cropped perspective. Window depicts a view of dense, luscious greenery captured in vibrant greens and blues. McPhail has allowed the paint to drip down the canvas, as if looking out at the foliage from a rain-soaked window pane.

The window divides the composition into four parts, imbuing the fluid lines of the drooping foliage with a strong geometry. McPhail takes inspiration from a range of historical and contemporary references. Window is indicative of the artists exploration and study of the perspectival teachings of the Renaissance. Though the composition’s sharply defined organising structure is simplistic, it builds depths to the work, which is emphasised by the layering of pastel and bright tones of colour that McPhail uses to build up his canvas.

McPhail has stated, ‘Things like power lines, bars on windows and fences break up our field of view constantly, yet tend to go unnoticed. I think my painting practice is really about reallocating attention to objects that often reside in our periphery.’ Window does precisely this; the inclusion of the window frame disrupts our view out of it and challenges our assumptions about perspective and the traditional landscape panorama. Framing the scene in this way, McPhail situates the viewer firmly within the painting. Rather than passive observance, the work seeks to actively engage the viewer in gazing out of the window.


Nick McPhail

B. United States 1982

B. United States 1982


Nick McPhail’s practice incorporates painting, drawing and sculpture. His paintings function as a contemporary exploration of the history painting genre. McPhail’s subject matter frequently centres on the immediate environment, depicted using minimal lines and bold blocks of colour. Through his work he seeks to lend new perspectives to our immediate environments.

McPhail (b. 1982) graduated with a BFA from Michigan State University in 2006. He has had solo exhibition in both the United States and Europe. McPhail is the founder of Half Ceramics and Half Gallery LA.

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