Nathan Ingram, aka Dr Suits is an Ōtautahi-based artist whose work shifts between street and studio, exploring the potential of these distinct sites of creation and installation. With a background that spans fashion, graffiti, graphic design, street art and large-scale muralism, Ingram’s art constantly grapples with a deep-set interest in the outcomes of experimentation and repetition.
His latest body of work extends from these origins with a new emphasis on elegance and subtlety. Shifting from the textured surfaces and torn edges of paper as his preferred media, the adoption of glass has imbued the artist’s work with new qualities. The pristine panes have invited more subtle colour palettes, with pastel pinks, soft yellows and minty greens, applied in smooth, flat sprays of aerosol, creating a contrast with the exposed sheen of the glass. The gestural mark-making of the backfilled sections of black and white sneakily betray their tactility, held captive behind the shiny glass yet still revealing the intricate details of pulled and scrapped pigment. The masked curvilinear forms that sweep across the surfaces are themselves a balancing act of care and chance. Plotted to create a tension between a dynamic gesture and a sense of repose, the viewer is led across the surface, uncovering the subtle details and gradient changes.
Fascinated with the process of repetition and subtle experimentation to ultimately reach new destinations, Ingram’s work may appear decorative, yet upon reflection (literally from the glass surface), it represents the artist’s ongoing search for the ungraspable, a constant struggle between the chaotic and the designed, much like the reality of the constantly changing environment surrounding us. Like the writhing lines slashed across his paintings, there is ultimately no real end point, the journey will always be the true reward.