5-19 November 2022
Finissage Sunday 20 November 16–18 hrs
PS proudly presents the new exhibition EPW: mini-paintings by the Australian artist John Nixon. Since most of John Nixon's works we know have an 'average' to sometimes very monumental size, this group of 5 small paintings now exhibited in PS seems to be an exception to the artist's ouvre. However, within his EPW series, several of these groups of mini-paintings have emerged over the years. Often in a group of 5, which should be distributed over the 4 walls of a room at a height that you can determine yourself.
By placing a single mini-painting by itself on a wall he indicates the equivalence of these works as paintings regardless of their diminutive size. The paintings can be considered spatial in that through such method of installation, one or two per wall they can singularly encompass and visually hold a large area. The diverse shapes within the series place the works within John’s wider enquiry into ‘shaped’ compositions, (encompassing diagonals beyond the standard right-angles of a rectangular painting) whilst the blocky character of these tiny paintings gives them an architectural aspect.
You could say that the artist explores the idea of a minimum size in order to still qualify as a painting. Likewise minimal number of colors, each painting extends its interest in the black and white. Made from wood scraps, they also speak to the 'Waste Not Want Not' ethos that runs through his work, his imaginative pleasure of making something out of nothing.
EPW stands for Experimental Painting Workshop, a project John Nixon started in 1990 (but retrospectively including works from 1968 onward). It is not a physical workshop but an intellectual as well as a practical visual investigation into non-representational painting.
The radical impetus of the modernist tradition stays an enduring source of inspiration for Nixon; it is the premise upon which he has developed his own contemporary approach to abstraction and exhibition making. In the course of analyzing the heritage of abstract painting Nixon continues the project of radical modernism. Within his EPWs Nixon works on a program of ongoing research about the possibilities of painting after Minimalism, Monochrome, Konstructivism, and non-objectivity.
His simple yet richly diverse geometric paintings show an inventive and resourceful use of ready-made objects and basic materials such as cardboard, newspaper, hessian, felt and wood.
To set up an EPW-cycle Nixon determines a rough framework of rules in which to explore the essential formal elements of painting as color, surface, structure, brushstroke, texture, plane and volume and their relationship among each other.
Here the elements focussed on are enamel paint, canvas, wooden boards cut at the sawmill with a rough saw blade. Throughout the experimentation process these elements then function as a repository to trigger ideas, to trigger compositions in which the relationship between foreground and background, horizontality and verticality, proportion and symmetry is examined. In the course of this experimental analysis a sequence of images emerges.
Previous solo exhibitions by John Nixon (1949-2020) in PS projectspace were in 1999, 2011, 2014, 2020 and the exhibition ‘John Nixon in Superweakness’ in Superweakness, The Hague in 2021, which was co-curated by the artist Machiel van Soest.
The exhibition can be visited on Saturdays 13 – 17 hrs. and by appointment.
With special thanks to Sue Cramer and Emma Nixon.