“This exhibition is an overview of various paintings from the past 30 years – works situated within the lexicons of minimalism and maximalism. It presents examples from a number of different series with either simple or complex formal structures. The paintings selected from numerous groups and have been randomly placed side by side encouraging a view of their individuality. The method of constructing or building a painting has, in the most recent works from 2014 and 2015, enabled me to exceed the limits of the rectangle, to create paintings of dynamic shape and structure through layering and accumulation of a diversity of materials. Through the materiality of all the works in the exhibition, the non-objective joins with the concrete and real within an abstract realm. The 18 selected mid sized works are strategically exhibited at eye level in a strong continuous linear frieze along all walls to create a solid visual zone, engaging both mind and eye. This display format has been chosen for this particular exhibition, but at a different time, the works could also be shown alongside others from their groups to enhance an appreciation of the many variations within each singular theme.” John Nixon, Auckland, August 2015
John Nixon was born in Sydney, Australia in 1949 and studied at the National Gallery School, Melbourne graduating in 1970 and began travelling and exhibiting in Europe and America. In 1982 he was selected to exhibit in Documenta, the prestigious international art event in Germany. Since in 1984 his work has featured in a number of Australian exhibitions overseas, one being ANZART: Australian and New Zealand Artists in Edinburgh. John has been regularly exhibiting in New Zealand since 1984 developing a working practice with other New Zealand artists, in particular, Julian Dashper, Stephen Bambury, Milan Mrkusich and Gordon Walters. In 1997 he held five exhibitions in New Zealand, including the ten-year survey, EP + OW at the City Gallery, Wellington. The trans-Tasman connection is an important focus, which has resulted in an extensive holding of his work in major New Zealand public art collections. He currently lives and works in Melbourne, lecturing at Monash University, Melbourne.
1. EPW: Selected Paintings continues the artist’s interest in the various acts and meanings associated with, and derived from, notions of ordering, categorising, and sorting. The acronym EPW refers to the notion of an Experimental Painting Workshop and has been used in the title of many of Nixon’s exhibition projects since 1994. By transforming the gallery into a ‘workshop’ for his artistic ‘experiments’, Nixon does not adhere to preconceived ideas about the final look of the show. By contrast, he chooses to respond and react to the specifics of the location with elements of light, scale, size and colour having a determining effect on the end result. “The EPW is not a physical workshop, it is an intellectual proposition, and as such it can be carried out in situ in any world city where various local objects and materials are often used in the production of the works for exhibition.” John Nixon, Sydney 1993.