Robert Nicol - Profile

Robert Nicol / Profile


Robert Nicol

Represented by Dutch Uncle

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USA   /   Represented by Helen Cowley  ···

EUROPE   /   Represented by Joel Minter ···

ASIA  /   Represented by Mikiharu Yabe ···


After graduating from the Royal College of Art in 2007 I have continued to exhibit paintings, drawings and sculptures in a varied range of gallery contexts. When working in the studio I am interested in the relationship between the painted image and objects; and how this can play with the tension between fact and fiction.


The imagery I enjoy creating often deals with traditional subjects such as the portrait, still life and landscapes; making reference to old Dutch masters and folk painting. Developing from this more expected base I intersperse these images with unexpected elements that play with pop culture, horror, humour and sexuality. I find the unsettling push and pull of such images can mirror some of the experiences we come across in the modern civilised, or uncivilised world, depending on how you see it. Through contact with the media, or other modes of information transmission, we are encouraged to hark back and romanticise what was good, as well as push mindlessly forward in pursuit of happiness or other goals. So the images can be seen as playing with imagined places we aspire to but hoping to offer insight into how we currently exist, and what forces play upon us. The images can be seen to present things we hold dear, idolise or even the things we seek to avoid and hide. In a modern world that is increasingly sanitised they can act as a raw vision of the human psyche.


My 2D images are often offset with rudimentary ceramic objects that play with the saturated colour palette and intuitive mark making of the paintings. For the audience to experience objects that seem to hold the same ideals at the images on the wall could break down barriers of what has the ability to exist. My work can be seen on the one hand like a stream of consciousness but held together, and given weight, by a range of motifs, bold gestures and a need to present something that feels archaic and modern all at once.


Through presenting a window into a world which feels much like our own, yet filled with more visceral and high contrast experience, I hope that the viewer would reassess what it means to exist; and also what it means to make images. I view myself in the same line of work as the ancient men who painted in the caves at Chauvet and Lascaux, compulsively making images that are on the one hand mundane and ordinary, but imbued with a power to give new hope and to frighten. I want the works to be obvious constructions but to have the energy and conviction to alter a viewer’s stare of mind..

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Norwich, UK

Quote (ARTIST)

— Robert Nicol



“Nicol’s paintings and drawings draw on a variety of sources, ranging from Goya, Canaletto, Dutch Genre painting and American Folk art."

— Cole Contemporary




2016 / Galerie Nouvelles Images, Den Haag, NL

2014 / ‘The Shadows of a God’, Breese Little, London, UK

2013 / Vous et Ici, Amsterdam, NL

2012 / ‘Erebus and Terror’, Cole London, UK

2010 / ‘Breaking Wheel’, Cole London, UK

2008 / Fulham Palace Commission, The Fulham Palace Gallery, London, UK



2016 / 'Perusing The Planks: Shelf Life', Galerie Nouvelles Images, Den Haag

2016 /  Galerie Nouvelles Images, Amsterdam Art Fair, Amsterdam

2015 / ‘Mut Mut’, Assembly Point, London, UK

2015 /  ‘The Ebony Tower’, Nouvelles Images, The Hague, NL

2015 /  Gallery Maurits Van de Laar, The Hague, NL

2015 /  ‘And Quickly Turn to Myth’, James Freeman Gallery, London, UK

2014 / April 2014 Gallery Maurits Van de Laar, The Hague, NL

2014 /  ‘Old Tin Cutlery Before the Invention of the Fork’, Breese Little, London, UK

2013 / ‘How’s Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue?’, Flowers East, London, UK

2013 /  ‘Stranger’, Flowers East, London, UK

2012 /  ‘Necessarily True’, Garage, Rotterdam, NL

2012 /  ‘A Private Affair’, Harris Museum and Art Gallery, Preston, UK

2012 /  Art Rotterdam, Cole London, Rotterdam, NL

2011 /  Manchester Contemporary, Cole London, Manchester, UK

2011 /  ‘Scenery and Landscape’, 37PK, Haarlem, NL

2011 /  ‘Wit, Fear and Sarcasm’, The Fine Art Society London, UK

2011 /  Art Hong Kong, Cole London, Hong Kong, CN

2011 /  Art Amsterdam, Art Consultancy Tanya Rumpff, Amsterdam, NL

2011 /  Art Rotterdam, Cole London, Rotterdam, NL

2008 / ‘Cloak & Dagger’, Edgar Modern, Bath, UK

2007 / Royal College of Art Degree show, London, UK

2006 / ‘Oberon Book Illustration Awards’, Royal College of Art, London, UK

2005 / ‘The last Chickens of Sainsbury’, Wasps Studios, Glasgow (Part of Glasgow International), UK

2004 / Bloomberg New Contemporaries, London, UK

2004 /  Liverpool Biennale, Liverpool, UK

2004 /  The Barbican, London, UK

2004 /  Transmission Gallery Members Show, Glasgow, UK

Commercial clients

  • The Financial Times
  • The World of Interiors
  • United Airlines
  • Elephant
  • Lawrence King Publishing
  • The Telegraph
  • Condé Nast
  • The Royal College of Art
  • House & Garden
  • Penguin Books
  • BBDO Advertising
  • BBH Advertising
  • CIMA
  • The Barbican