Nicky Foreman was born in Waitara, Taranaki and graduated with a BFA from Elam, Auckland University in 1992, since then she has maintained a vigorous exhibition program. In 2005 Foreman completed a three month residency and exhibition in Vallauris, France. Nicky’s paintings are highly sought after and feature in international collections such as Saatchi & Saatchi, New York; Ruby Wax, London; Jim Rosenfeld, New York and many others.
‘My current work has a duality-the meshing together of past work drawn from the landscape and personal family history of the North Taranaki region and more recent bonds with France. Two years ago I spent 3 months at a private artist residence in the small town of Vallauris on the Cote d’Azur. My work previous to this time was primarily concerned with the New Zealand landscape, the detail in it, how people existed within it and the sharpness of the light. Over the last 15 years I have worked with a range of media inventing different surfaces for myself. I want to create a tactile quality that makes the viewer almost need to touch the work.
I knew before going to work in France that it would take me in a new direction. I had previously had brief stays around the area several times but was not prepared for what would happen when I started working. The light which as a tourist was noticeably different was then overwhelmingly different- a warmth that infuses into all colour, making every colour intensely rich. I remembered reading a quote from Matisse where he said after first being in Nice that he didn’t think he would be able to stay because the light was just too much.
Vallauris is a small earthy, dirty little town where Picasso went every year to make his ceramics. I worked alongside many ceramists and was influenced by the surfaces and forms of their work. I was also close to the foundation Maeght and therefore could see the work by Miro, Matisse and Braque - all influences for me.
What I know for sure is that my work would not have taken the direction it has without that residency time. I was able to work every day and be welcomed into a new community. Speaking French did help and also think that thinking in a different language unlocked new ideas. The stimulation due to living and working in another country is invaluable.’