Neal E. Nolan:
To date, Nolan’s work is the sum of a wide Variety of offshore experiences.
The array of media that makes up Neal’s work stems from a passion for first-hand experience, incorporating tangible archetypes in assemblage to his illustrative antics, painterly expressions, text and texture.
Winnipeg, MB, Canada born, Neal grew up amidst the post-prohibition aesthetic remnants of a city struggling for safety amongst a thickly lit cultural background. As a hub throughout the fur trade and later as a major locomotive freight junction between Eastern/Western Canada and the U.S, Winnipeg offered a culture ripe with heritage and influence.
A timely interest in typography, sign painting and font design coupled with distaste for mass marketing led to long term involvement within the mid 90’s re-emergence of graffiti culture. Unexpectedly marketable, the commercialization of the culture attributed to his departure, its association with freight trains ultimately steering his inclinations to the ethics of tramp travel and DIY culture. Riding between cities as an affordable and transient means of transportation offered abundant hard won experiences - providing a wide variety of environments, people, and social templates which inform his perspective and subject matter. The expanse of these experiences later committed themselves to a series of talks delivered through the UBC, and Langara departments of cultural study as well as Terminus 151 and a cultural advisory position with Vancouver City Hall.
Working as a gallery technician at Low Art Gallery in Toronto, Ont 1995/ 96, Neal spent his time getting to know the arts industry and its practices. Over time he took on an assistant curatorial position with the gallery while spending much of his leisure learning and practicing different mediums under direction from many of their represented artists. Leaving Toronto early 1997, he moved back to Winnipeg to spend time assisting in the development of Winnipeg’s Graffiti Gallery. In 1998 Neal re-located once again to Vancouver, BC and has committed himself to many independent and partner based curatorial projects including the founding of an online talent brokerage (Social Construct 2002 -2004), Misanthropy Gallery (2003 – 2005), The founding of the Local 156 Collective which included a variety of Emily Carr inst. alumni among other self-taught artists such as The Dark, Eben Bender and Melissa Parquet. Having assisted in the conceptual development of the Vancouver Pacific National Exhibition’s annual Container Art installation series, his most recent curatorial contributions include a co-curatorial position with the United Nations exhibit The Oceans in Us as well as a yearly position developing an exhibit for The Talking Stick Festival at the Round House exhibition hall.
My work explores the illusions of identity and the man-made archetypes that drive the considerations of our perspective, both historical and contemporary.
I work with found materials and objects in assemblage to video components, painting, air brush and drawing combinations commemorating the foundation of our present through a glimpse of our past as our landscape becomes increasingly less obvious to our heritage.