Indepth Arts News: |
"aH'Ha: A Michael Nicholson Studio Installation"
2001-06-15 until 2001-07-15
City Gallery Wellington, 360-Michael Hirschfeld Gallery
An hypnotic revolving sculpture, using coloured light and shapes beamed onto
the back of the Gallery wall, is just one aspect of a new installation by
Michael Nicholson, opening at the Michael Hirschfeld Gallery this week. Nicholson, aged 85, has described his work as a visual song and a dance
about nothing. aH'Ha explores ideas that have been central to his art
practise of the past 50 years, showing how a found object from the 'real'
world can be progressed through different art practises such as photography,
sculpture, painting, installation and film.
Michael Nicholson's art aspires to the condition of music, writes Gregory
O'Brien. He is an abstract painter with an obsessive interest in the real.
Like Len Lye, he has been greatly influenced by jazz. His video works
translate sound to image and vice versa. Effects of light, shade and
projected colour are as important as the three-dimensional materials in his
sculptural installations. Echoes of Len Lye (and more recently the
sound-sculptures of Philip Dadson) can be seen in the way Nicholson uses
technologies to explore fundamental areas of human perception.
An English immigrant, Nicholson arrived in New Zealand in 1953. He has
worked as a theorist, teacher and sculptor, and video artist. Nicholson's
work was included in the influential Auckland City Art Gallery exhibition,
Object and Image, 1954, alongside paintings by Colin McCahon and Milan
Mrkusich. His exhibitions since then have been few but significant. A
remarkable mural was featured in the Auckland Art Gallery's Fifties Show in
1992, and his work was included in a satellite exhibition to the National
Art Gallery's 1994 Art Now exhibition.
Michael Nicholson was born in the United Kingdom in 1916. After studying at
the City & Guilds School of Art, London, he enlisted in the army, was
evacuated on the last destroyer from Dunkirk, then went on to serve in India
and Burma. Following study in London, he immigrated in 1953 to Auckland,
where he lectured at Elam School of Art until 1961 at which time he
transplanted to Sydney, where worked for almost 30 years. Since 1988 he has
been based in Wellington, exhibiting his work at dealer galleries as well as
Artspace (Auckland), 1991, the Sarjeant Gallery, 1994, and City Gallery
Wellington in 1995.