On occasion, Tomislav Nikolic’s paintings can be unruly, testing the tolerance of tasteful decorum with their raised voice and contentious tones. These wild polychrome adventures desire all our attention and seem prepared, if necessary, to stamp their feet to get it.
And yet for all their bolshie, flamboyant behaviour Nikolic’s paintings seem to be able to express a deeper, private dignity – all whilst donning their best party outfit. What fascinates me about them is that every element matters. One might assume that with paintings that flirt so demonstrably with excess, they would risk intemperance, but they ultimately express a level of judgement and intuition that is critical and rare.
Does Nikolic want that paintings shoulder the philosophical loading that the great abstract expressionists desired? Does he believe that systemic process and material are sufficient ingredients in the making of paintings? Unlikely. Does he believe in the magical communicative power of colour and for it to be an agent of psychological and emotional transformation? You bet he does. And so, what Nikolic has set out to achieve is a synthesis of various arcane chromatic theories with a highly personal investigation of pigment and its unpredictable behaviour, in the hope that it emboldens ours.
Being’s believin’ is the 12th solo exhibition that Nikolic has made with Fox Jensen & Fox Jensen McCrory. This new exhibition also serves as a celebration marking the publishing of Invocations of Consciousness, the first major monograph on Nikolic’s works. With a series of essays, most notably with an introduction by Juliana Engberg and a major text by Julie Ewington, Invocations of Consciousness places Nikolic’s paintings in a welcome historical context and offers insights into the conceptual terrain that has underpinned his work.
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