Visit to MIMA – Winifred Nicholson

Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art is such a fantastic gallery. It is very inclusive and runs lots of activities and projects in the local community. We dropped in for lunch in the cafe which is designed to be an artwork in itself. I didn’t realise Winifred Nicholson: Liberation of Colour was on – it was an engaging exhibition about an artist I didn’t really know. In her long artistic career she focused on arrangements of flowers and landscapes with some abstract work. Her touch was light and contemplative. There was no photography allowed in the exhibition but there are many images of her work online.


I was drawn to this still life of cyclamen on a windowsill which is an early work by the artist. I like the use of light shining through paper which is wrapped around the pots and the use of subtle background colours to suggest a monumental landscape with minimal detail. The composition and location of the still life on a windowsill are very interesting and I like the way the shadows on the windowsill echo the mountain in the landscape behind the flowers. There is more information on this picture here

Nicholson wrote an article “Liberation of Colour” in the 1940s – I haven’t been able to find this online.


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Palm, oil on canvas, 1980

At the other end of her artistic life in 1980, Nicholson painted Palm. Again it was an arrangement on a windowsill with a hill in the background. Nicholson has used a prism to look at the arrangement so the picture features the scattered light made by the prism. The image is loose and elegaic.

A lot of the works in the exhibition are privately owned and there are no online images. I was interested in her use of composition and made some rough drawings in my notebook.

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