An artist is staging her first solo exhibition in Hartlepool.
Artist Nicola Wiltshire’s exhibition Contemporary Icons launched at Hartlepool Art Gallery this week.
It features a series of paintings inspired by Nicola visiting Greek Orthodox churches, combined with elements of fashion photography, symbology and Islamic art.
Painted on metallic and African fabric, the exhibition aims to explore the beauty and meaning of religious art through people that are living today.
Dundee-based Nicola said: “The paintings take a fresh approach to religious icon painting and I wanted to find a gallery in a converted church to run with this theme.
“As soon as I saw Hartlepool Art Gallery, I fell in love with the beautiful stained glass windows and loved the way it transformed an old church into a lively space for art.
“Ashley, the curator offered me a solo exhibition at the Aspe space and I gladly accepted.”
While it is usually the subject and use of a painting that makes it an icon, yet these paintings represent normal people with halos and priestly robes.
Nicola is originally from Cambridge and went on to study at the University of Westminster and Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design (2015).
She now lives and works from her studio in Dundee, Scotland.
Nicola added: “My paintings explore the magic and surrealism of life at its most mundane and everyday level.
“Through studying people, and mountains, and trees, my aim is to highlight the universality of humanity and the way we try to weave meaning into it all.
“I am interested in God and visual language, but also in combining the two to make suggestions about the scenes I paint.
“By layering, refracting and blurring my references, I hope to create a body of work that is visually hyperreal and dense with opportunities for interpretation.”
The exhibition is on show in the Apse Gallery at Hartlepool Art Gallery, Church Square, until Thursday, November 10.