Herd, the Exhibition Formerly Known as Windblow by Nick Bodimeade
Updated: Jun 29
From 15 July to 5 August we are pleased to present Herd by Nick Bodimeade,
a solo exhibition of new paintings at:
The Mill Studio, New House Farm Barns, Ford Lane, Arundel, BN18 0EF.
As the name implies this new series of works looks at herds of dairy cows in this case on the South Downs and also in New Zealand. These works can be seen as a natural progression from the artist's Beach and Woodland series.
The Private View for Herd will be on Saturday 15 July from 4-8pm
The Exhibition will then be open from Wednesday to Saturday, 11am to 5pm, and Sundays 12-4pm.
Artist's Talk Event
On Sunday 16 July at 3pm Nick Bodimeade will be 'In Discussion' with James Stewart.
Zimmer Stewart first showed Nick Bodimade's work in 2004, their second year, with an exhibition called 'Dogs, Trucks and Sheds'. Since then he regularly had solo and partcipated in group exhibitions at our old gallery in Arundel.
The discussion will cover Nick's work over the last twenty years including the current Herd series, his process and his teaching. There will be an opportunity to ask questions and join the conversation.
Click here to download our Press Release for Herd by Nick Bodimeade.
For a long time Nick Bodimeade has explored the concepts of herd mentality: people acting together; forming small groups; creating personal space within the formation.
This has mainly, but not exclusively, been in relation to people on a beach and specifically their way they spread themselves on the often limited space available.
In Nick Bodimeade's series of Herd paintings the titles are often descriptive of the grouping such as: Counterflow, Herd and Shadow Herd, Traverse or Herd Shift.
These refer to the way the herd moves, together or as individuals.
Rake, refers to raking light: strong directional light usually at an acute angle or parallel to the subject being painted. It has a secondary meaning here a diagonal path across a steep slope or crag.
As with people on a beach, it is the same with cows, the group tends to act together.
Each individual chooses behaviour in correspondence with others, whether through imitation or as a response to some external force. Although unstructured, there may be two for more animals which are imitated by the bulk of the herd.
The term herd is often also applied metaphorically to human interactions in social psychology: 'Herd Instinct' refers to a phenomenon where people join groups and follow the actions of others under the assumption that other individuals have already done their research. Herd instincts are common in all aspects of society, even within the financial sector, where investors follow what they perceive other investors are doing, rather than relying on their own analysis.
In other words, an investor who exhibits herd instinct generally gravitates toward the same or similar investments as others. Herd instinct at scale can create asset bubbles or market crashes via panic buying and panic selling.
Hanger refers to a steep bank, as in Hangers Way in Hampshire, a 21 mile walking route which passes along a series of steep-sided wooded hills, known as “The Hangers” from Alton to Queen Elizabeth Country Park. In the case of these paintings there is also a secondary meaning of seeing cattle vertical but shadows 'hang' from underneath.
Herding can also be useful as a defence against predators. However, predator risk often varies for individuals that occupy different positions within a group.
The 'selfish herd' hypothesis describes how individuals can reduce risk of predation by moving to specific positions within the group. In existing theory, this movement occurs through the adoption of possible “movement rules” that differ in their cognitive complexity.
Farmers know that adding new individuals to the herd can affect the welfare of the group, and so they take special measures to reduce this.
As with children joining a new school, heifers are the smallest in the herd and are quick to be pushed to the bottom of the pack as hierarchies are established.
In his teaching Nick Bodimeade has recently been looking at Piet Mondrian's cow paintings.
Tate Modern is currently exhibiting the work of Mondrian with Hilma AF Klint under the title Forms of Life, ends on 30 September 2023. In this exhibition later abstract works are shown alongside earlier landscape paintings showing their 'pathway to abstraction'.
The Dutch painter, often regarded as the father of modern abstract art, developed his trademark style in the 1920's. This is characterised by bold red, yellow and blue rectangles bounded by a black-and-white grid.
But he spent his youth in rural Holland painting fields and rivers. These early works, including cows featured high horizon lines and flattened spaces
Nick Bodimeade discussed these works with his class as hinting at or foreshadowing
Mondrian's mature abstract style. See below for more on Nick Bodimeade's teaching.
The dense, small-scale paintings mark a highly prolific period in Mondrian's engagement with figurative landscape painting – an early but deeply significant stage in the artist's methodical progression from naturalistic representation to complete grid-based abstraction.
[See "Piet Mondrian: Before Abstraction", 2015 at Art Gallery of Ontario and also "Piet Mondrian: Painting 1900-1905", 2016 at David Zwirner, London]
Butterfat is the fat found in cream, a high energy food and it is this that gives dairy products like milk, cream and butter their rich taste.
In milk the butterfat rises to the top.
The painting, Today's Fresh Milk, is an almost abstract work showing the dairy herd awaiting the next milking.
In this painting Nitrogen relates to the chemical famers put on the fields to make the grass grow rich, in this case highlighted with a light shade of green!
A cow will eat grass, but then spend up to 7-8 hours a day ruminating, or chewing the cud.
Alongside the Herd paintings there will also be some of Nick Bodimeade's Windblow, woodland diptychs; a few examples are shown below.
Nick Bodimeade has extensive teaching and advisory experience at a number of UK art colleges at Foundation, HND, BA and MA levels: Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College; University College Chichester; Canterbury Christchurch University College; Amersham & Wycombe College; Northbrook College, Worthing & North Oxfordshire College of Art and Design, Banbury and most recently at West Dean Collage of Art where his courses look at figuration to abstraction.
Nick Bodimeade says “The two main strands of my teaching are - firstly, developing the individual students' creativity and secondly, putting practical art practice in a contemporary and historical context. I feel the ideal studio is like a laboratory, an experimental place where ideas can be explored and observations made and always with the possibility of an extraordinary discovery."
Piers Ottey of the Mill Studio said “I have admired Nick Bodimeade’s work for many years. He is a serious painter with integrity, his work has a power and a presence not equaled by many”
James Stewart, Zimmer Stewart founder, said “In our anniversary year it is great to be able to exhibit an artist who we know well, and who is now established not just in Sussex and the UK, but internationally too. I feel like I have been on my own journey of discovery seeing his work develop and evolve over the last 20 years. It has been an invaluable education!”
As Julian Bell wrote “Nick Bodimeade seems incapable of producing art that is less than handsomely made” he continued “The journey that these images reflect is ongoing. This is an art that is deepening in its game.”
Contact us to find out more about the Herd Exhibition by Nick Bodimeade, or to make an appointment to view them.