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Square One | Nerine Cavadias

Showing April 15 to April 29, 2024.

"Square One consists of a 6x4 grid of 24 drawings displayed on a wall. Each drawing is roughly the same size, and the edges overlap to create an imperfect grid.


This body of work explores how a quick documentary drawing can redefine what is considered a finished piece. These drawings stray away from my ‘tight’ photorealistic painting practice, exploring manners to document various photos quickly. Although, these drawings are not entirely dissimilar to my paintings. A line drawing is the ‘first step’ I take when beginning a painting.  I use a projector to trace and note the important details, changes in value, or form of each photo. The resulting drawings are vastly different from a typical finished painting. This is a source of intrigue, as both art pieces begin with the same procedure. With this work, I wanted to isolate that preliminary line drawing, in some cases layering multiple, to explore form from a new angle.


My work primarily explores notions of inheritance and family history. This work is no exception. The photos are gathered from a box of negatives I have inherited and digitized. The images are mainly from my maternal grandparents, dating from roughly 1959 to 1971. For each drawing, a selection of images are made. A part of the criteria for selection is that the group of images have to be from the same ‘sitting’. The ‘sitting’ is loosely defined and is up to my discretion, as I cannot be certain.


The compositions range from a single layer to six, the majority being two or three layers. The variation is to provide more visual interest when the pieces hang together but also an element of artistic discretion considering composition, presence, and the images available.


The drawings have a slight colour scheme, including three blues, green and red. The cool tones symbolize the emotions and the detachment I feel towards these members of my family. The red colour is reserved for photos where the only subject is my mother, since I have a particular fondness for her. The multitude of colours is intended to be reminiscent of childhood drawings, linked with the rudimentary nature of the line drawings themselves. Although, each drawing is limited to a single colour to emphasize the interaction between layers and what is “lost in translation”.


‘Square One’ creates a bank of images that push and pull between intimacy and distance from a conceptual and technical lens. The images used are sentimental to someone, not necessarily the artist. They can be enjoyed from a distance, to view the whole wall, or close up, to focus on the intricacy of the line weights and the interaction of multiple layers."

About the Artist

Nerine Cavadias is a neurodivergent queer interdisciplinary artist who works in a variety of mediums. Predominantly a painter, her art practice largely revolves around the past, with specific interest in social commentary, and lived or un-lived experience. Nerine’s art focuses on photographic translation through a variety of processes. Her affinity for realism and commitment to photo-based work stems from the lack of a “minds-eye”; a condition called Aphantasia which affects only 1-3% of people. She often utilises family memorabilia as a starting point for pieces; and approaches it as if she were a semi-detached third-party.

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