Nicola Gower Wallis’ paintings recast the habitual as the exceptional, and the familiar as the fantastic. Her vibrant narrative works are based in small stories, be they folkloric passed down by generations, her daily musings or her nightly dreams; they carry the magic of the unverifiable, the rumoured and the imagined. One is reminded of the centuries of illustrative embellishment captured in miniature by the master painters of India. Much like these painters incorporated the tropes of stylised European backgrounds and exquisite Persian patterning into luminous depictions of their multi-faceted lore, Gower Wallis embellishes her memories with the floral tessellations of the Millefleur tapestries of the early Renaissance. She is inquisitive of every detail.
Gower Wallis begins simply: she describes the familiarity of her garden, walking up the paddock every morning and back every evening; she describes the chequered and changing greens of the paddocks surrounding hers. And she is soon enraptured by these events. The painter’s memories flood with mille-fleur. A thousand flowers blanket the fields and paddocks that Gower Wallis re-walks in her dreamscapes; the mundane is transformed into the meditative and elevated to the mythological.