The slippery surface of plastic is the chosen platform for John Nicholson’s visual offering. Plastic, a signature material of the ultra-modern, is produced from oil, that ancient primordial material of liquid carbon, and Nicholson’s works fundamentally express that oily origin. Injected with colour and spliced into compositional arrays, the works resemble vortices of space-time in a bold graphical language of psychedelic seduction. Nicholson’s works morph playfully between two and three dimensions through vanishing points, layers, loops and horizons and through, of course, the optical mixing of the viewers’ own eyes and relational experience.
The ‘real’ subject of Nicholson’s work is undoubtedly light, the energy that makes everything visible, and our evolving human relationship to it. While many of the works are frameless and capitalise on that redundancy, recent works feature an integrated frame as part of the work’s objecthood. This is not simply an art historical reference but rather, for Nicholson, a reference to the contemporary electronic screen and its ubiquitous presence in daily life. Once predominantly experienced from a single, analogue source – whether the natural sun or the artificial incandescent bulb – light is now more likely experienced digitally, from the glowing programmable sources of televisions, LED displays, mobile phones, tablets and hand-held devices. The screen is a vortex and portal of another infinite dimension. Nicholson’s artworks replicate as his ideas bounce across this exponentially expanding field.
Since graduating from the College of Fine Arts in Sydney, Nicholson has exhibited widely in Melbourne and Sydney. He has held studio residencies at the Bundanon Trust Artist Centre and at OMI International Art Centre in New York. In collaboration with microbiologist Kathy Takayama, he produced the Symbiotic Bacterial Light project, which was exhibited at Canberra Contemporary Art Space as part of National Science Week. His works are held in public and private collections in Australia and overseas, including in the collections of Artbank, Deutsche Bank, the University of Queensland Art Museum, Mirvac Corporation, Bond University and Penrith Regional Gallery, as well as in the collections of Goyang City in Seoul and OMI Arts Centre in New York.Download CV - pdf