LAUREN BRINCAT | BENEATH THE SURFACE, BEHIND THE SCENE
Beneath the Surface, Behind the SceneUntil 22 October 2023 Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne […]Read More
“… Nixon was not only an artist but a curator, musician, gallerist, small-press publisher and educator, who cut a prominent figure in contemporary art in Australia over the last four decades. He co-founded the artist-run space Art Projects in 1979, with Jenny Watson, and was part of an influential coterie of Melbourne artists during the 1980s, including Tony Clark, Mike Parr and Peter Tyndall. In 1978, he coined the phrase Experimental Painting Workshop to refer to his ongoing artistic project of critical investigation into painting practice, pivoting on the open-ended exploration of abstraction, the monochrome and non-objectivity as fertile ground for honing his minimalist aesthetic. Nixon’s DIY ethos of staging exhibitions, his collaborative approach to making art, attraction to everyday materials gleaned from hardware stores and charity shops, and an overall reductivism emerged out of his stint at Art Projects.”
“… It’s been said that there is nothing experimental about Nixon’s Experimental Painting Workshop, that the artist fixated on modernist paradigms as a kind of performative grieving, or that his employment of a constructivist vernacular was merely rhetorical. This view accords with postmodern assertions that late-20th-century resuscitations of modernist painting constituted an eviscerated, melancholic return.”
“… But Nixon’s works do not resemble the postures of postmodern morbidity. Rather, they pulse with life and buoyancy, delighting in inversions, doublings and bracing juxtapositions of materials, textures and colour. As a mentor to generations of artists and an enthusiastic advocate for artist-led initiatives and collaborative practices, Nixon embodied a latter-day utopian drive. If the artist immersed himself in the languages of early-20th-century geometric abstraction, it was to test their vitality. He swished the syllables around in his mouth to feel their shapes and speak them anew.”
Excerpted from frieze.com. Published in frieze, Reviews, 16 October 2020.