Nigel Sense’s latest work represents the unsung hero, the everyday worker doing a nine to five job. From society’s wider perspective, the average worker is traditionally overlooked and viewed as normal or even uninteresting. Sense celebrates the greatness of the blue colour worker. Often termed ‘factory worker’, this slang is often directed as an insult; however, the artist subverts this definition and flips it on its head, producing pieces that unabashedly bring the worker figure into full focus.
“I feel connected to this subject and draw upon experiences from my upbringing. Growing up, my father was my hero and my role model. He worked hard and got paid little, but still did his job with pride. My recent work has is roots here but has grown to incorporate all the unsung heroes. This is a continuation of previous subject exploration. I tend to paint everyday iconography and the strength of a working class and its history” (Nigel Sense, 2017).
Sense paints energetically in acrylic on canvas, describing his process as primal and instinctive. His overlaid imagery mimics his state of mind at the end of the working day. Instead of trying to clear his thoughts from the days experiences, he paints them: conversations, emails, phone calls, what his colleagues discuss over morning tea; everything goes down on the canvas. His works appear unplanned because he works quickly, however his ideas have been formulated over time and these he lays down on canvas with bold direct marks.
Nigel Sense is a graduate of the University of Wollongong. His work is frequently selected for major awards; most recently: Salon des Refuses (Finalist, 2022, 2020, 2019, 2018) and Mosman Art Prize (Finalist, 2018).
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