Artist Statement -

Nussinov’s Statement Oct 2012
Drifting, being transient, in between various states of body/mind, like when we travel physically and with our imagination, as in a ‘waking dream’.
My work represents a world of ambiguity and illusion, of recognized and abstracted scenes embedded as a tapestry of matter, illustrating different relationships. Somewhere in the process of creating artworks these worlds are mixed in an harmonious and conflicting manner, representing the contradiction and collision between languages and landscapes. At all times the viewer is challenged to unfold the mystery, to explore and discover.

The works of art are created not through a planned process but rather the starting point is an impulse, a visual or musical trigger.
These signals lure the me into the unknown territories where my intuition and inner vision leads to spontaneous discoveries.

As a teenager my box camera was an excuse to drift away from trouble, to capture in a photo something, that was at the same time ambiguous and exciting.
As a cinematographer/ director of documentaries from1976 to1980 I was acknowledged as an acute observer of people and an highly experimental filmmaker.

I have been working in various fields of the arts, consistently for the last thirty years. My works encompass sculptures made of found objects; sophisticated photographic collages ; landscape watercolours ; narrative & fantasy paintings, and music scores created and recorded by myself. Always learning from experience, my visual language has some rawness and ambiguity, a hybrid of cultural differences, a product of the interchange between the insider and the outsider.

For the last four years I has been awarded the ‘sculpture prize in found objects’ from the Sculptors society, acknowledging for my innovative whimsical assemblages, mainly made from recycled and found objects.

Nussinov’s Statement Oct 2010

Creativity in any art form is a valuable commodity it touches on all aspects of life and should be nurtured from a young age. The creative voice needs to be heard, and as artists I believe we have the responsibility to show our works to the public, to sometimes force a communication that otherwise wouldn’t occur.

My creative expression balances between the need to do something that enables my playful self to overcome my more insecure human moments, and to simply allow a creative instinct to be developed and explored into ‘works’. Being an artist is all about nurturing, taking care of the ‘work’ which is never known wholly from the start, but evolves as one inputs and responds to every action and reaction. The artist is responsible for those who play a part in his or her creation.

My studio is vital in providing a conducive environment where I can feel totally at ‘home’ to work emotionally and intellectually.

I work in multimedia and within my visual palette I am most interested in, painting detailed imaginary landscapes; constructing kinetic sculpture with found/given/leftover objects; taking photographs- for documentation of people, and places and phenomena; and using computer tools in the creation of digital compositions of transcended realities.

I also am interested in audio visual expressions incorporating recordings of sounds; sessions of improvisational dialogue which explore my languages of Hebrew, English and Hybrid sounds, used with less of a meaning but more as a direct psycho emotional outlet, that reflects the state of the self. In order to further build up a ‘sound’ vocabulary for the creation of my ‘sound paintings’ or audio works I also record, the sound of my tools ‘at work’, in variable speeds, intensities and contact/ friction with different materials, rasp on wood, wood on floor, and rotating tools scratching glass.

Making sense out of this chaotic juxtaposition, the artist’s predicament, sorting out, rearranging, rebuilding new structures, looking for associating between the elements, sketching perspectives marking the landscapes, to reveal or obstructing objects and figures by establishing relationships between figures and object in the landscapes, as a impressionistic / expressionistic scenario, or as a piece that communicates more through the emotions.

As an Artist, I feel like an explorer who enters new terrains, seeking clues between the absent and the present. As in a fuzzy oblivion, something often emerges, perceived in shades of colour … something that looks like… sounds like… makes me feel like … I imagine, is becoming.

Having accumulated more the thirty years of experiences in various artistic endeavours I feel privileged to be able to do what I do best, communicating through my art. I know how hard it is to promote oneself, getting as many people through the door to see and buy artworks. Selling more or selling less, we and our artworks are here to stay…

Micha Nussinov's Statement 1995

As a traveller whose ancestors had to migrate from their homelands seeking a refuge in Israel - a place not quite as safe for their children as they'd hoped - I feel like a wanderer in search of a resting place.
The search is a motive constantly expressed in my painting. Not just the process whereby the artist seeks clues that will eventually add up to an image he or she is happy with, but as a subject itself. The characters in my paintings are looking for something,and the people who view the pictures are looking for clues.
My mother was still at school in Germany when she had to join her parents who were concerned by the rise of the Nazis. In 1936 they landed in Israel, where they had to work as labourers in the fields. In a Ukrainian town near the Polish border, my father's mother was the driving force behind the family's welfare, not only raising six children but also selling leather in the market. My grandfather spent less and less time running the factory and devoted more and more time to religious studies. It was my father's oldest sister, the paediatrician in Israel, who persuaded her parents to leave Ukrania. My father was 18 when he and his parents settled in Israel. They bought a piece of land and my father worked on
the land for the rest of his life. It was in the scented grapefruit orchard and amongst the fruitful plum trees that I often found a refuge.
As a growing child I often felt insecure, perhaps this relates to the questions of survival by which the Jewish people have been confronted for centuries. It might also have arisen from my subconscious wanting something I couldn't articulate in words. My frustration caused me to be rebellious and often at odds with my father - stubborn as I was, he couldn't tolerate my disobediance
nor my temperamental traits.
In my early 20's, having seen my father experience a crisis that shattered his confidence in himself, I realised how sensitive and gentle he was. When I have been shy and reclusive I can feel how my sadness is linked to his vulnerability. On the other hand, on those happy occasions where I have been dancing or playing the harmonica I sense how I project the Ukranian temperament: spontaneous and quick but with a down to earth natural wisdom.
For my milestone 13th birthday my parents bought me a camera. Looking through the viewfinder gave me a new perspective on the world. I could see my surroundings upside down. I could bring things in and out of focus and I could show people my visions. Thirty five years later I still experiment with my camera, superimposing images to create a fantasy world.
After I finished my two and a half years of army service I enrolled in film school in London. It was my first time outside Israel. Not understanding what people were saying created a sense of mystery; in the beginning everything seemed to be quaint. But as the weather got colder and sleeping in a damp bedsiter became uncomfortable, the illusion evaporated.
Learning the art of film making provided me with more opportunities to avoid reality. Over the two years in the London Film School I specialised in camera and lighting.
In 1974 I migrated to Australia, where people in the film industry told me that to succed I must joint the club; have a drink with the boys. But I wasn't quite ready to socialise in a new country - so, while waiting for a job in the film industry, I wrote down ideas that became the basis of 'For What',a documentary that examined people waiting for something to happen.
As a cinematographer and director of conceptual films I have learnt a lot about the art of illusion - how to create the structure and mood of a story and make the audience believe in it. In the early 80's when money for films was channelled more to commercial projects my frustration with the industry grew until I found a new outelet for my creativity.
Painting has given me much more space to manoeuvre and develop my style or artistic expression. Transforming realities into fantasy worlds with detailed landscapes has led me to many discoveries. Many of my paintings contain worlds within worlds - like a jigsaw puzzle, they are linked by various jurneys. Until a year ago, just before my son's birth, occasional taxi driving met most of my financial needs. It also enriched me with many insights into the multicultural nature of Australians. The intimacy of some of the encounters I had with people who told me of their pressing needs was very revealing.
My impression of of the essence of these dramas is expressed in a series of paintings on taxi driving stories.
Whereas my watercolour paintings are soft and gentle my oil paintings are more intense and provocative. Oil colour and its carious mediums have seduced me into exploring many stylistic strands in painting. Many are structured on sketches - ideas based on reality; others stem from the impulse of a colour and the movement of my hand, a few begin in chaos and are clarified through a process of discovery, others are painted on location and are
perhaps more fluid impressions.
At my studio, in Sydney's rag trade area, between layer upon layer of added paints my squinted eyes search for the missing link. Then something comes to life, an imprint of recognised entity, and bit by bit my imagination creates a story around it. When it all adds up to a harmonised creation I feel a sense of relief. A cycle has come to an end; I let the painting rest as I myself reach a resting place.

Artist Exhibitions

1988 Begg Lane Studio, Sydney - 'Transformation'
1990 Libby Edwards, Melbourne -'Fruit of the brush'
The wall gallery, Sydney - 'Landscape'
Begg Lane Studio, Sydney- 'Photo Art'
1991 Hotel continental, Sydney - 'Figures in Landscapes'
Spacebase Gallery, Glebe - 'Portraits of friends'
1992 'Where do you want to go?’- Selected for the Sulman exhibition NSW Art Gallery.
Still Gallery, Paddington - Photographs
1993 Avoca Gallery, Kincumber- 'Figurative paintings'
Howard Leonard Gallery, Sydney - Paintings, photos,
1994 Travelodge, Sydney - WIRES Charity Exhibition
1995 Gallery Nakai, Kyoto, Japan - 'Dreamscapes'
1997 Mann Auditorium, Tel Aviv, Israel- 'Between Reality
and dream'
1998-9 Art in public places-Exhibiting installation works in Glebe
Park, Centennial Park
1999 Fundraising exhibition, Sydney- 'Expressions of Faith'
Downing Center, Sydney - Paintings and Installation works.
2000 Public Art Sculptures mounted at roundabouts in Newtown and
2000 Jones Bay Warf– Pyrmont –‘Transforming spaces’, Sculpture,
paintings & photographs
2001 The Globe – Marrickville – Open studio
2002 Sculpture by the Sea – Bondi Australia- Click Clak troupe -
Piano hammers become the limbs of figurative sculptures
2004 Washhouse Gallery, Rozelle, Australia– Light of Darkness
2005 Sala Barna, Barcelona, Spain, 'Drapes of Tissues'
2006 Group exhibitions with'Togetherness',Manly community centre and at Antique centre Surrey Hills, Australia
2006 'Art on the Rocks' ,Sydney
2006 '24 November' Sculptures and paintings at Nussinov Gallery, Redfern Australia
2007 'Elusive Perspectives' Sculptures,paintings,digital composites
at Nussinov Gallery, Redfern, Australia
2008 'Etching on four glass doors',Nussinov Gallery, Australia
Exhibiting with the sculpture society in Chiefly Towers,
Governor Tower, Sydney
2009 'Shifting arrangement', Nussinov gallery, Redfern, Australia
Exhibiting with the sculpture society at Darling Harbour,
Governor Tower, Sydney
Won The Pricewaterhouse Cooper Prize
2010 'Between the layers' Photo composites exhibited at Nussinov
Gallery Sydney.
Exhibiting with the Sculpture Society at Darling Harbour
Received Highly Recomended Certificate for 'Amphibian
Selected for Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize ...

Artist Publications

BEING THERE, 1995 written by Evelyn Juers (Sydney based literary writer and art critic)

Nomads, tourists, refugees, colonisers, soldiors, explorers, astronomers in outer space, hippies in inner space, vagrants, social climbers, even taxi passengers, all are migrants. The dislocation from one place to another is the single focus of Micha Nussinov's work. Travellers and notions of travel inhabit his mind.
To survive in new environments the itinerant observer must learn to reformulate the link between the world and
the mind, especially when migration involves not one but several stopping places. Russia, Germany, Israel and Australia, cities and country, are the identifiable places on Micha Nussinov's map. They are the homes which he and his family have had to translate, negotiate, and integrate. On the same map, however, there are also places which are less easy to name. For in the accreation of cultures, strange things sometimes happen. Language becomes frustrated, inadequate, mixed-up.
Travellers are often silenced. Their intimate associations with people, places, vegetation, food, smells, sounds ar cut and pasted up in an ever more bizarre and crowded collage of memories and impressions.On Micha Nussinov's map some places must be located by signs which do not refer to political or geographical entities, or to language.
From the identifiable places, Nussinov has made works bursting with a rich display of very specific urban or topographical details: Israeli street scenes with soldiers on patrol and children at play; international airport lounges where Indian women in colourful saris are sleeping; Spanish dancers, circuses, coffee
shops, backyards, family rityals, taxi-life. People's gestures, food,
clothing, expressions and accoutremonts - even with affection, and
sometimes with the bluntly intrusive redness of the voyer. Eyes are
important. Many works capture the moment of staring or being stared
at, or startling or being startled. The eyes catch, or are caught.
Minute detail are thus recorded.
In the translation between cultures, between languages and their idioms, an oddness of expression can develop. It is the result of the same kind of puzzlement that a new comer to the English language might experience if he had to hear and apply the subtleties between the words - leather / lather / ladder / letter / litter / leader... such words might become interestingly compatible or interchangeable. In Nussinov's case there is clearly a deep fascination with his own puzzlement, as juxtapositions give rise in his work in a carnivalesque surrealism, where discriminations of scale are secondary - big stands for little, pumpkins become playgrounds, lips become theatre, and the viewer is taken on a rollercoaster ride from surfaces to interiors, from the naieve to the grotesque. In Nussinov's earlier landscapes the viewer travels from finely drawn pebbles to valleys of mountains. In his taxi-narratives the obsessively detailed fleshiness and gaudy dress-codes of passengers leave a wake of personal tragedies trailing away through the back windows.
There is always a sense in the works of seeing or feeling and taking what is seen or felt as an end - an aesthetic unit - in itself. Thus, from the less identifiable and essentially darker places of the map, Nussinov brings images of metamorphosis and fusion to his work, like statements in themselves.
One of the earliest works traces the kaleidoscope transformation from human hand to snake to bird. It resembles a totemic abstraction. In its simplicity it remains a puzzle, an encapsulated personal mystery, not offering decipherment beyond the common symbols of hand, snake, bird, beak, eye.
More recently, Nussinov has produced a number of 'town hall tower' works. here the building ejaculates into space, propelled by the centrifugal force of birds simply swinging on wires nearby. It is a troublesome, Chagalesque concept - a drastic rearranging of the world of gravity and seriousness and authority. The migrant artist is thus seen to be compelled to create sites of significance and power, challenging the solidity of his environment with images of flight and abstraction, effecting an exchange of values.
Like waking dreamscapes, these less identifiable places are of course also the more secretive and disturbing. Neither quite from the world as we know it, not from the rational mind, these sites draw together - tightly - a close-up of the moment of translation, or exchange, or intuition, of undress, or erotic or coital communication, often signposted by grossly distorted or oddly framed detail. With caricature, cabaret-like gesture, over-bright colours, Nussinov creates a persuasive landscape of the self. It is disturbing because he taps our innermost fears, that innocence - represented by eggs, children, fruit, trees, and water - should be continuously challenged and cross-fertilised by experience. Placing the blissful side by side with the grotesque guarantees response. In this sense, in the abrupt pairing of light and dark as much as the exclusivity of his vision, Nussinov proves to be a very demanding artist.
He has reproduced acts of expression - other than language - as moments where pleasure and pain battle it out, often in thickly applied oils, to sculptural effect. The most obvious sites for expression are those parts of the human body - the orifices and bulges and indentations - where elements enter,
are kept or are expelled. Nussinov's most recent interest has been
to record the traveller's anxieties regarding connectedness in terms
of visual exploration of those entrances, exits and keeping places
- Eyes, mouths, breasts, noses, pores, vaginas.
In the entrance to his studio there stands a giant head. It is not a pretty site. Lit from within, host to streamers of old film, it confronts the visitor with its mocking Bosch-like nudity of expression. Nussinov is not making clear his claim on all surfaces as landscapes for travel. His faces are as rocky or snaky or grassy as his natural scenery of desert or bush. As expansive and all encompassing as his subject matter might become, it is the quality of deep puzzlement that allow this artist to create a world of private mythology.

DARKNESS, LIGHT and THE WANDERER Written by: Kathleen James
The Washhouse Gallery, Rozelle, 29 June –18 July 2004

The major themes of Nussinov’s work were well represented in his recent virtuoso exhibition ‘Light of Darkness’ at the Washhouse Gallery, where the light paintings celebrating life were hung on the left-hand wall of the main room, and the darker more introspective works on the right-hand wall. The works explore the interplay of light and darkness, journeys, the artist as wanderer or outsider, language, memory, and personal and cultural symbolism. Fragments of languages: words, hieroglyphs, sinuous scripts are written on the body of these paintings, like a primal mark-making, as if to question human attempts to label and classify the universe. Underpinning it all is a great love of Nature and the inexhaustible variety of organic life. Nussinov’s mainly figurative works range from sombre surrealistic ‘internal’ landscapes to large, joyous, expressionistic, semi-abstract landscapes, and to more realistic paintings of people and particular remembered places.
‘On the Mud Flat 1’ is a realist work showing a bird’s eye view of children wading in sandy shallow water, painted in acrylic washes. With its tall scroll-like format it superbly evokes a specific place in Pittwater in Sydney, a vast shimmering waterway with mud flats and rock pools. Nussinov has captured the complete naturalness of children playing, looking for crabs and shells, and the transparent waves rippling with light.
At the same period Nussinov painted ‘Magnolia’ – a sensuous appreciation of Springtime and the miraculous in Nature. The lines of the blossoming tree in full sunshine have an almost musical rhythm. The fine supple brushstrokes capture the light moving in the leaves and blossoms, a meditation on the act of seeing.
In this pantheistic vein he painted the tondo ‘Claiming Rights,’ which shows a naked man astride a gigantic white bird flying over its nest. There are mythical figures in a celestial space above, and down below the figures of ‘primitive’ people at one with the earth. Does the bird in this painting represent the possibilities of flight, journeys, the lure of the unknown, versus the pull of one’s homeland, the urge to belong, to stay and claim ownership? Nussinov knows the wrench of emigration, the experience of being an outsider in a new culture and language, the excitement of exploration as well as the longing for home. The artist migrated to Australia in 1975 after studying cinematography and lighting at film school in London. He was born and lived in Israel, and his family’s roots are also in Germany and the Ukraine.
The earth-bound figures in ‘Claiming Rights’ embody a particularly masculine energy or life force. Underlining this the artist has written calligraphically the Hebrew letter ‘Zayin,’ which crudely translated means ‘penis,’ but also stands for ‘asserting your rights, your identity’. Again blue predominates in this work, the most spiritual of colours, suggesting a sense of longing. The artist thins acrylic paint to create his luminous watercolour effects.
In some of his other visionary works there are figures like falling angels, whilst other figures are struggling upwards. ‘Movement 1’ is a spontaneous-looking painting in warm tones that conveys the restless energy of life in a state of metamorphosis, in contrast to his more structured figurative works.
‘Splash’ is a large mural-like acrylic ‘light’ painting with a joyous freedom, evoking the teeming life of Nature. Water, sky, reflections, and earth melt together as colours merge gradually from cool to warm. There is a rich range of blended tones here, and sinuous lines suggesting the multiple journeys of living things across the face of the earth. The painter has alternated light and dark touches until the work as a whole achieves a sublime harmony. It resonates like a great chord of orchestral music, homage to the energy and connectedness of all life.
The companion work ‘Splatter’ is similarly built up from translucent acrylic washes and multiple sketches of organic forms, the layers of paint and pastels used expressionistically to suggest an apocalyptic vision.
‘Transfiguration’ is another large, free, semi-abstract landscape, a much darker one, where lively natural forms emerge from a blue/black background in glowing colours. One of the most mystical and enigmatic of his works, it has the atmosphere of a dream. Figures, animals, birds, fish, plants, trees, rocks, buildings, bridges, waterfalls, even a volcano, float in a kind of oceanic fluid, like time itself. Like any dream journey it is full of ambiguities, on one viewing you might read a form as a human figure, but another time you might see it differently, whilst other forms emerge or melt back again into the primordial night. Nussinov reminds us of the diversity of organic life and the swirling currents of water and air around the planet. He is a natural philosopher, and the work has an epic breadth, like Gauguin’s ‘Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?’ of 1897. He shows how, like all living things, we are caught up in the life cycle of Nature: birth, growth, maturity, ageing and death. His technique in these darker works is to start with a black background and build up layers of acrylics or pastels in blues and glowing colours, balancing the light sources and highlights, whilst the black underneath unifies it all.
The triptych of smaller works 'Light of Darkness' features surrealistic 'internal' landscapes, where Nussinov has again started with black, working in layers of luminous pastels, achieving rich textural effects by pressing the pastel into the board with his fingers. In 'Light of Darkness 1' a figure floats over a whirling vortex, symbolising perhaps the transience of the human journey through life. Near the figure twirls the arabesque of a sash. This is one of the painter's recurring symbols, a ribbon-like sash twirling into a 'figure eight,' and here it anchors downwards. Nussinov acknowledges life's essential mystery in this open-ended eternity symbol, which could also stand for identity, consciousness, and language.....

Artist Collections

Numerous private, corporate, museum, gallery and government collections detailed information coming soon.

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