14 March, 2006

john nixon at CACSA

Contemporary Art Projects SA 2005: Project I
3 March - 16 April 2006

John Nixon will exhibit paintings from his ongoing EPW (Experimental Painting Workshop) series, staged to great acclaim at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne, in 2004. Site-specific painting installations have been selected especially for this Adelaide exhibition, determining a relationship with other works by Nixon in Linda Michael's 21st Century Modern - the 2006 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art at the Art Gallery of SA - allowing a broad range of Nixon's work to be seen in several sites and contexts. The CACSA exhibition thus acts as a satellite exhibition to the Adelaide Biennial.

As with the artist's library and record collection which are dutifully arranged according to subject, genre and decade, the material nature of Nixon's work is pragmatic and empirical, reiterating and reworking the history and vitality of abstraction, constructivism and the readymade. A political imperative motivates Nixon's prolific production and unwavering commitment to these traditions - which is the desire to emphasise and extend the history of abstraction, minimal and conceptual art in Australia and to redress the institutional neglect and art historical amnesia that has generally attended these tendencies. Nixon's approach pursues two fundamental, yet divergent paths in the development of modernist art practice - the readymade and the monochrome. His commitment to the monochrome militates against narrative and illusion in order to focus upon the fundamental language and epistemology of painting itself. In Nixon's approach, the readymade paradigm is essentially relativist, foregrounding the contextualisation of the artwork and its interconnectedness with social and cultural frameworks.

Nixon's work draws attention to the role that memory, imagination and hope play in the elaboration of cultural practice. By coupling a critical/historical awareness with commonplace, yet inspired processes of material transformation, Nixon's work achieves a state of poetry and epic theatre.

John Nixon is represented by Anna Schwartz Gallery, Melbourne
Catalogue Essay Fluid Modernity by Danny Lacy

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