Nelson Diplexcito British, b. 1966

Nelson Diplexcito’s imaginative and beautiful multimedia works and paintings are colourful and saturated topographies of lines, pigment, image and space. To achieve this complex suggestion of memory and lushness of hue and texture, Diplexcito often begins with a photograph. “This is where painting begins for me, with an image that has the thinness of an apparition. The photographs that I use must have the ‘thinness of ghosts’ in order that they can be developed into drawings and then paintings.” 


A combination of flat planes of color or pigment, divisions of space and shadowy images plucked from photography and film allow a sense of evocative yet mysterious narrative to emerge. Formally, there is an experimentation of style that combines collage and abstraction with naturalism, creating a newly thought out Rauschenbergian surface and mode of storytelling. This act of transformation of ideas, images and experience is revealed through a process that is fluid and individual to each work: “It is as if the painting is hidden somewhere behind the surface of the painting.The object is to call it out into the open, in short to make it visible.”


As well, the artist uses the device of cropping to create picture planes that have a balance and radicalism all at once. Recessive space is created through linear and tonal difference, engendering a tension between figure and ground. “The pace of mark, weight and spatial occupation of the figure are important to me.” 


Diplexcito shares that he is interested in capturing a sense of the ephemeral, noting the way in which particularly iconic if not timeless paintings have an enduring sense of captured moments, seemingly fleeting yet resonant throughout the centuries. The artist shares his fascination with an impermanence so often seen in the work of iconic painters such as Velázquez, Rembrandt and Goya. Diplexcito points to the work of Gerald Brockhurst, Jamie Cowie, John Singer Sargent, William Strang and Anders Zorn whose portraiture achieves a presence that extends beyond zeitgeist and style. Such discussion of precedents and influence is not meant to suggest direct sources, but rather a parallel to the strength of character and palpability of memory evoked in these artists’ work. Indeed, in a widely admired body of work, Diplexcito has transformed motifs of past worlds with a lushness of paint and line suggesting a new and distinctive space that is entirely immersive and experiential. 


 Rosa JH Berland