John Nixon
EPW: Sil­ver

1st – 24th June 2006
Anna Schwartz Gallery

From the late 1970s, John Nixon has been cre­at­ing works under the rubric of the Exper­i­men­tal Paint­ing Work­shop or EPW. Nixon has explored the vast pos­si­bil­i­ties for mate­r­i­al and tex­tur­al vari­a­tion with­in strin­gent con­straints, such as the colour orange or here, sil­ver. Nixon explains the gen­e­sis of the sil­ver works:

The sil­ver paint­ings were begun in 1995 in Syd­ney as a par­al­lel to the EPW: Orange paint­ings. The first works were made with alu­mini­um enam­el spray paint on MDF and card­board. Sil­ver was cho­sen to rep­re­sent an alter­na­tive to the colour range. Sil­ver is opaque and reflec­tive, a non-colour in the sense that we know colours to be. Both sil­ver and orange are full of ener­gy and light.

In April 2001, six years after I first began the sil­ver paint­ings, I was in New York vis­it­ing the stu­dio of an artist friend. It was in a high-rise build­ing on West 26th street, between 10th and 11th where the view from the front win­dows looked down over the flat rooftops of the low-rise build­ings below. I noticed the rooftops had been recent­ly re-paint­ed with sil­ver paint. The paint was thick and dense to water­proof the sur­faces over many years. The sight was visu­al­ly impres­sive as the sun shone on the rooftops cov­er­ing the city block below. This expe­ri­ence rein­forced my inter­est in sil­ver as a strong alter­na­tive to orange. On return­ing to Syd­ney, I imme­di­ate­ly began a new group of sil­ver paint­ings using indus­tri­al 5 ply.

The pro­duc­tion of the sil­ver paint­ings esca­lat­ed towards the end of 2003 in the new Bri­ar Hill stu­dio in Mel­bourne where a group of reject­ed old­er works that had been final­ly brought from stor­age could be reworked. Also a large num­ber of stretch­ers and hes­s­ian sacks that had been kept in stor­age since the mid 1980s were returned � these mate­ri­als were then used for the new sil­ver works. The tac­tile fak­tu­ra of the woven sack­ing stim­u­lat­ed fur­ther devel­op­ments of what oth­er mate­r­i­al could be added to the sur­face to artic­u­late tex­tu­al con­cerns such as bro­ken glass, sand, hes­s­ian web­bing and coins. The paint­ings are now made with alu­mini­um enam­el paint and house paint­ing brushes.

The paint­ings includ­ed in this exhi­bi­tion are drawn from the peri­od 2003 to 2006. They vary in size and pre­dom­i­nant­ly use MDF board as a sup­port sur­face. The paint­ings con­tin­ue my ongo­ing inter­est in the prin­ci­ples of mod­ernist painting.

John Nixon, 2006


John Nixon

EPW: Sil­ver, 2006
Instal­la­tion view, Anna Schwartz Gallery