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Entangle: Dimensions of Water and Light

Review by Andy Bay

Of Entangle by Nina Garstang

Phoenix Art Space

May 2024  

Entanglement dip install.jpg

Artwork © Nina Garstang  (Entanglement diptych Deep & Deeper, 2023-24)

"The key narrative in artist Nina Garstang’s ‘Entangle’ exhibition, could be about the initial state of density in colour. Her work masterfully captures light and shadows from the natural, cataclysmic forces of cyclones, overwhelming waves and tempests. These stormy seas, born of Icelandic lands and myths, conceal however a greater drama, unfolding in the paintings in front of us. These tumultuous ripples and water cascades, illustrate the untimely, recurring nascency of colour, beautifully captured in this body of work.


The ‘Entangle’ show made me wonder if perhaps, the act of painting historically had to go through the depiction of the forces of Nature first, as in wild oceans and the great floods of the seas, to then, give birth to that which Nina’s paintings deal with so eloquently, in other words, colour. One begins to assume that it was necessary for these paintings to depict the natural seisms of the oceans, so that their colours could be born, and then become objects of pictorial creation in their own right.

Install shot 1.jpg

Artwork © Nina Garstang (Installation shot of Entangle exhibition, May 2024)

But then, shouldn’t we ask ourselves: how did the power of the seas, captured in pictorial representation, convey something so special into the open air of this exhibition walls? In the case of ‘Entangle’, this special element is inherently found in the way that the paintings reveal to us how the Forces of Nature, high energy variations affect the act of painting.

Cyanotype wall install.jpg

Artwork © Nina Garstang (Our Print, wall of cyanotypes on watercolour paper, 2024)

Here, the artist’s prints are the vessels of fortune of a deeply cosmogenic principle. The Abyss, the primordial origin of cosmogenesis, becomes a symbol of the chaotic unruliness of the Forces of Nature, which are the condition which precedes the pictorial, that which can be represented. These are the first planes of projection apprehended in the artist’s works. Subsequently, these planes of projection are swept away by the formation of colour. Here colour does not simply regulate the polarities of order and chaos, nor can it be captured by weights and scales, but simply remains immeasurable and unfathomable.


Nina’s paintings reveal to us that Nature, made visible through colour, is relative to no other surface of production. Nature subsumes the pre-causal and produces all causality. The only way out of this Abyss which knows no opposite force, is to represent it beyond the point where it could turn into dimension.

In The Begining  .jpg

Artwork © Nina Garstang (In the Beginning, enamels & other chemicals on glass 2021)

Nina’s works express the ‘being’ which knows no opposite and exists in opposition to nothing, and therefore exists beyond, since it is in fact absolute. ‘Entangle’ brings this absolute into the plane of the visible, and thus calls upon an essential point of entanglement, between that which is becoming, and that which has ‘unbecome’. The point of ‘entanglement' is neither black nor white, neither up nor down; or perhaps it is simply all four conditions at the same time.


Across the artist’s pieces, ‘warm colours’ which exhibit points of expansion on the canvas and 'cold colours’ which represent the motion of contraction, are quietly interwoven, whilst powerfully non dimensional. But these geomagnetic colours also exist between dimensions, at the crossroads between the natural power of the oceans and the universal principle of colour out of which Nina’s paintings conquer the visible world, to our utmost surprise and fascination."

Install Shot 8.jpg

Artwork © Nina Garstang (Installation shots of Entangle exhibition, May 2024)

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