Nathan Eastwood’s painting practice has its roots in a minimal schema but with a social consciousness; positioned within the real world of signs; actual social sites; and also formally displaying reductionist/subjective construct. This art work evolved into this aesthetic we recognised today.
It was during Eastwood’s Masters Degree that he reached a conceptual point where he felt that the correct procedure in his development was to empty out his art practice off all existing references to the real world (this was an operation of de-cluttering and purging and reducing his paintings to painted monochromatic objects and re-begin at zero point. The painted monochromatic object and its relationship to the exhibition space became his preoccupation; the use of measurements bridged the gap between painted object and exhibition space. After spending time making painted monochromes, or oil on graph paper for example He realised that the art works become heavily dependent on the exhibition space located within the language of measurements. The art works could not function without being thought about in relation to the architecture and so the works were getting to dependent upon the gallery space; here a dilemma surfaced for the artist. This dilemma put him in a space of reflection. Questions came to the forefront; how could he extend his interests in minimalist and reductionist aesthetic, but avoid burying himself in an overtly academic painting/site specific and dependent on exhibiting space? Were it possible to combine a monochromatic minimal schema with a realist painting that reflects the world of signs; (return to the realist model, representing social realities; life as he sees it)? Eastwood had explained that ‘I realised that I needed to consolidate all my experiences artistically and conceptually into a new painting practice; with the ambition of finding my own language and artistic identity. So my new objective is to make paintings that symbiotically bring together the monochromatic and figuration (the real world of signs). I see my paintings now as painted social realities; or realities that surround me. I will coin the term; realist in form, social in content both symbiotically important to my art practice.’
Since this return to the real (representational painting) Eastwood’s current artistic practice, involving a meticulous application of enamel on board, started in 2011 with a small painting titled Nook; a painted motif where the artist is sitting at the bottom of the stairs at the artist home. Since then he has produced dozens of paintings with the same loaded melancholic atmosphere. Eastwood’s painting are primarily interested in human, social conditions; real life (material life) as he see it. Eastwood’s art collide the language of social realism with the minimal/photo-real schema. Eastwood occupies a special place in the art world that believes painting still has the power to reflect ones social relations and human conditions. This proposition corresponds clearly to Eastwood’s interests in the works of writers such as Allan Bennett, Robert Tressell, Alan Sillitoe and Owen Jones.