A longtime resident of North Wilkesboro, N.C., Ward Nichols is known for highly detailed, realistic paintings of old barns and other structures that have stood the test of time, and that reflect the cultural heritage of the community in which they were built. Nichols is not interested in realism that merely fools the eye, however, preferring to draw out the abstract qualities found in the chance patterns and textures of natural and constructed environments.
Associate curator Cindy Buckner gives us something extra to think about when looking at this work:
The title of this painting, Other Uses, clues us in to a detail of the image that is easy to overlook. There are two cords tied to the basketball hoop, extending out of sight to the left, leaving us to wonder their purpose—a clothesline? A makeshift trellis? A swing for a small child?
Ward H. Nichols (born 1930) Other Uses, circa 1974, oil on canvas, 28 x 30 inches. Museum Purchase in honor of Estelle Marder, 1978.04.21