The Darker Garden is the result of an artist’s residency Nikky Morgan-Smith attended in Vanuatu at the Suzanne Bastien Foundation in April / May 2019.
As a search for identity through time, place and mark making; this body of work is a fluid and floating response to an experience of heritage, history, and landscape, both personal and communal or collective.
The works mark a shift in Nikky’s practice; on the one hand toward landscape as a subject of depiction, and on the other, toward a more raw, open gestural mark making as an object of language or experience itself.
"The ambiguous space between the two worlds of my past and present; two paradigms of visual language colliding in representation and abstract gesture, and experiences of self and place, are all infused by the memories and raw material I gathered in Vanuatu".
The places, plants and creatures Nikky visited during the residency all continue to occupy and inform this work in their own sometimes subtle ways. The struggle to resolve these levels of experience into an honest account as an act of language represents the context for this body of work.