Tomislav Nikolic’s exhibition, vestiges of now, marks the fifth variation of this major group of paintings, within one of the most idiosyncratic and compelling painting practices in Australia.
His approach to colour embraces the multifarious strands that are loosely entwined in the esoteric colour theory described in the Seven Rays. This ancient concept has held allure for many diverse mystical and philosophical traditions – from western culture, Hindu religious philosophy, the Byzantine -and has continued to be woven into the fabric of the 20th century occult.
Nikolic’s subscription to the Seven Rays is less that of a disciple or even that of an advocate. Rather his investigations of colour don’t seek to sway the viewer’s acceptance of any belief system; they are driven by Nikolic’s own emotional acknowledgment of colours’ force and communicative capacities.
Nikolic also finds stimulus in artworks from history – having long been fond of the paintings of Camille Pissarro or more accurately, the manner in which Pissarro would return time and again to the same urban vista, albeit under different seasonal conditions. For this iteration it is the sites Pissarro chose – Avenue de Opera in Paris or the road to Versailles, that have simply provided a structural framework for his scrutiny of colour and light.
Perhaps like Mark Rothko’s early paintings of the New York subway there is far less invested in the site itself than in the way that painting can offer a sensory immersion in colour and tone. This engagement with or captivation by colour and its emotional clout is at the heart of their shared concerns.
The paintings in vestiges of now also demonstrate the extraordinary degree to which Nikolic has advanced his approach to material, form and object. The completeness of his paintings, the involvement of each element, face, edge and frame indicates his desire for the work to have an integrated character in the same way that we might seek this for ourselves.
Despite this unified approach, the nature of Nikolic’s paintings can be diverse. One minute demure, the next bolshie and brooding, we can see how Nikolic’s paintings are always extending the range and affecting character that a painting can assume.
In recent years Tomislav Nikolic’s paintings have received major recognition here and abroad. The current Bulgari Art Award winner has enjoyed tremendous success with his works having been exhibited in solo exhibitions in Munich, Madrid and Palma de Majorca in recent months. Alongside these exhibitions Nikolic’s work has been presented with huge success at Art Basel Hong Kong since 2012 and of course in our Sydney and Auckland galleries.
Multiple works have entered the collections of the Art Gallery of NSW, National Gallery of Victoria, and Chartwell Trust Collection, held by the Auckland Art Gallery Toi O Tamaki as well as private collections around the world.
Fox Jensen is thrilled to present vestiges of now in Sydney.