Fox Jensen McCrory is delighted to announce an exhibition of new works by Tomislav Nikolic. It is the ninth solo exhibition held with the galleries.
This new group of works “pay the prophets to justify your reason” continues Nikolic’s engagement with art historical exemplars. Most often his own works are heartfelt responses to artworks that move him especially. Reaching back as far as adolescence, Nikolic recalls the power of seeing paintings by Francis Bacon – the colour, the scale, and the confronting narratives offered him an experience that whilst public, also felt deeply personal, an involvement that couldn’t be had elsewhere, other than with painting.
There is a larger group of seven individual, discreet works, that respond less to the particularities of respective works but to the broader communicative power and symbolism that paintings have maintained for centuries as votive objects. In Kasmir Malevich’s 0-10 exhibition in 1915-16 the artist chose to place the seminal Black Square painting high in the corner of the room in the privileged position of the household icon painting. Elevated and transcendent, Malevich’s famous painting was immediately loaded with content and responsibility. These seven new works, each painted on wooden panels and fastened into their steel frames in a clear, prosaic way, celebrate colour and its emotive power more than religiosity. Like a medieval icon painting, the wood itself is ever so gently convex and will in time invite fissures to appear, most likely at the edges – its stubborn organic life still evident.
A second suite of seven works is in fact one piece. Using Nikolic’s more familiar extravagant frames which are fully co-opted into the structure, composition and rainbow of colour, this group of works makes the dictum: “the whole is greater than the sum of the parts” wildly evident. Subtle shifts in scale, together with audacious juxtapositions of colour and intensity gives this work a musical quality. More be-bop than symphonic, your eye moves back and forth along its length propelled by its chromatic pulse and whimsy in a kaleidoscopic approximation of Charlie Parker’s Ornithology.
Nikolic continues to evolve as one of the most compelling painters of his generation. His work has been collected all over the world, due to its ability to expand the communicative role that painting can have. Further than this Nikolic understands the historical, theoretical and symbolic responsibility that colour itself can shoulder.
Andrew Jensen, August 2019