Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2011 - Here's what you missed...

This year has been another filled with new challenges and wonderful studio time.

Here's what you missed...

I started the year interested in folding paper.  Not yet sure what I wanted to do with the 'folding thing', I just kept making work.  In 2010, I had spent a lot of time folding clothes, which culminated in my exhibition I am woman, hear me... do housework, which was held in April of 2011.

(c) 2011 Naomi Nicholls, The Folded Laundry, (installation view)
Clothing, wall pins

This, my first solo exhibition, was a great experience.  I learned a lot about getting comfortable with the work I was making, and also seeing the work in a gallery space really enabled me to extend my ideas and gave me lots of new directions to try. 

The element that was most valuable from that body of work, turned out to be the action of folding and the shapes it created.  So I went on a folding spree, leaving laundry behind me: folding paper, folding collage, folding paintings, painting the shapes the folding produced.

(C) 2011 Naomi Nicholls
cardboard, acrylic paint, fishing line

(c) 2011 Naomi Nicholls, Untitled
Colour cardboard, fishing line

Folding, itself, involves your physical movement, and I wanted it to become more bodily.  So I began experimenting with creating an environment which the body could play a part in.  In these environments above, the viewer walks around and peers into it to fully take in the work, which is that bodily element I was wanting.

(c) 2011 Naomi Nicholls,
Digital photograph

Parallel to this, I wanted to explore this idea of depth in two dimensional paintings and also began working on photographic works.  Once I had created works in this way, I started using its shapes to go back and forth between works.  For instance, I used the lines and shapes from the above to create line drawings.

From here I investigated creating entire environments where I could extend the spatial properties of the geometric shapes, use of string and colour etc.  I also continued to work in two dimensions and produced a series of oil paintings here and here.

In addition to I am woman, hear me... do housework, I also showed work at the QENOS Art Show and the Undergraduate at the Toyota Community Spirit gallery in Port Melbourne where I was a finalist for the award.

(c) 2011 Naomi Nicholls, Line Drawing (installation side view)
Acrylic, wool, vinyl on wall

(c) 2011 Naomi Nicholls, Angle of Plan (Installation view)
Acrylic paint, vinyl, wool on wall

Now, here we are two days from the end of the year!  Next year, I have an exhibition in March (two weeks before Easter), I'm also currently working on proposals for a couple more exhibitions. And through the lovely time off from my job during the Christmas and New Year period, there's lots of art making to be done.  So stay tuned for updates of my work in progress!  I feel some oil painting coming on.

Thank you for your support during the year, it is most appreciated.
Happy New Year everyone!  And a wonderful and arty 2012 to you all.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Transparent and Opaque: spatial paintings/drawings

(c) 2011 Naomi Nicholls, 2 sheets of 56 x 38 cm
Watercolour, gesso and graphite on paper.

 (c) 2011 Naomi Nicholls, 2 sheets of 56 x 38 cm
Watercolour, gesso and graphite on paper.

I’m interested in visual means of expressing three dimensional space.  What on earth do I mean by that?  Well, I think it's really interesting how when we're looking at something, we look directly at it, we might walk around it to get a different vantage point, we look at the foreground, the middle-ground and the background.  So I’m taking that idea of space folding out and folding in and make work about those spaces.

At the moment I have been working on some watercolour works, because I’ve been constrained by having no studio at present, so I can’t make really big works.

The works above include shapes of transparent watercolour, but I also really like playing opaque colours off the transparent.  It gives a bit of a shift in the space.  The transparent being something you can, in theory, see through, the opaque something to can’t see through. 

Although I think this is a work in itself, it also feels a bit like a planning drawing for a large scale installation.  I don’t know how I’d actually make such a work, but I definitely have some ideas to try out.

Summer holidays are going to allow me more time to work on my art, so I will keep going with these drawings/paintings.  And some of them might make it into my exhibition in March.  Woo.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Exhibition Announcement

(c) 2011 Naomi Nicholls, NebulousOil on canvas.

I am pleased to announce that I will be having an exhibition at First Site Gallery in Melbourne in 2012.

Opening night: 27th March 2012
Show dates: 28th March - 6th April 2012

I'm really excited and grateful for the opportunity.
Now I have plenty of work ahead of my to prepare for the show.

Concertina Uneven Fold

(c) 2011 Naomi Nicholls, Concertina IIWatercolour and graphite on paper.

This work evolved out of the former artist books I've been working on, using a concertina format.  The book becomes much more of an art object which is dispayed as is, rather than a book that requires you to participate by opening it up.  Also, the advantage of the concertina book is the inclusion of convex and concave corners which I can paint/draw around on a smaller scale than my large wall works.  I have been trying to extend the possibilities of drawing around corners in other ways now that I don't have studio walls on which I can paint upon.

Have been scribbling away in my journal and sketching out some line drawings.  I have rediscovered the ruler and am enjoying its possibilities.  I haven't worked with watercolours for so prolonged a period before and am finding them rewarding and challenging.  It is quite different from the acrlyics and oils I'm used to working in.  The colour mixing feels more complicated. 

Here are a few recent drawings from my journal. 

The 'structures' overlap and twist together and one is not sure which is in front and which is behind.  There is also a floaty quality which I am interested in entending.  They remind me somewhat of the drawings of Josef Albers.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Concertina and drawing

Ah yes drawing, I remember you.  Today, my lone studio day for this week, I was determined to be productive.  Thankfully it worked.  I took up my journal and started sketching and looking and drawing, and remembered drawing.  And how that has come to be important in visually investigating space.  It reminds me of Julie Mehretu's work even more, although I haven't been looking at her at all.

Anyway, above is a concertina booklet I made and Apple Peel'd all the way across.  An extention of the work I started last week going across pages.

I enjoy the contrast between the painterly watercolour and the ruled lines.

Below are some shorts of my additions to last week's book.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Up one page and down the other

I have been working on a few watercolours of late.  The contraints of having no studio walls to paint on have certainly challenged me a bit.  Full scale I like to paint around corners, so I am investigating this idea with the shapes I've been working with for some time now.  There's more to make with cardboard boxes, but I wanted to do some watercolours also.  So I tore up some watercolour paper and sewed a small book.

A little sewing on the sewing machine and bam!  You have a purpose 'built' watercolour book.

I need to make a few more of these, experimenting with colour, page placement and documentation.  I love that they function as sort of sculpture and not a book with pages to be fliped-through.  All pages are meant to be viewed at once.  I could also look at the shape of the book.  There is no reason why it has to be rectangular.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Shapes in the alley

Here are some results from a brief photo shoot in a nearby alleyway.  I rather like alleyways.  Abandoned non-spaces.  There always such lovely colours and textures there.  It's a funny space too, because although I think it's probably public space (for local traffic) and it's perfectly okay for me to be in there, it still feels a bit odd.  Almost private land, but not quite.

I acquired another box.  Mozel tov.  And I have a paintbrush just the right length to be able to fit inside and plaint shapes.  I think I will leave them white.  Love how the shapes are more hidden in this work.  And they are starting to detatch from each other.

This little number is making a comeback, after featuring in this earlier installation.  I think it's interesting what happens if I start to play with shapes and lines on a polygon and mess around with perspective.  This may end up a larger work, with a number of polygons.

Here lies the finished Brown Cube.  As usual acrlyic paint posed some difficulties to me.  It's just as well I like the painterly look.  But something else which effected colour quite a bit, was the fact that the base was white.  Next time, I think I'd start with a base of yellow or something else, and then paint the transparent colours over the top.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Brown cube, sorta - WIP

The summer approaches, and I am studioless.  Well, I am studioless, in that I don't have a lovely flat white wall that I'm allowed to do art upon.  I am limited to what I can do at home, until I get a new studio next year when uni returns.  But, these contraints can often lead to developments in work, so I will just have to evolve.

In thinking about how I will miss my 'white cube' of a studio, I thought about other cubes and came to cardboard boxes.

And the shapes continue, for starters in white gesso.  I plan for bright colours, but of course I need a white undercoat.  Documenting this was just a thought... might lead to some white-only works.  The white is rather pleasing against the brown of the box.  But we shall see.  Colour to come, anyway.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Artist Statement

Such a big week this week.  I have been madly writing about my work.  It is utterly exhausting.  But I have applied for a scholarship, an exhibition and tweaked my work proposal for assessment.  Now I am spent!  But everything is done.  Woo.

Here is my updated artist statement:

Naomi Nicholls’ work plays with colour and geometric abstraction to explore how we experience space, depicting the three dimensional in two dimensions. Shapes created through folding paper provided the initial impetus for this body of work which has evolved into a series of large wall installations, paintings on canvas and photographs. 

The work oscillates between different spatial readings, exploring form and generating images through reprographic processes; by going back and forth between the folded line, the folded form, and reproducing these lines and forms in various media.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

House paint - it's a revolution

It only took me 4 months (or something) to realise I should be using house paint.  I got some from the hardware store last night - why did it take me so long?
It goes on much more smoothly than what I had been using in previous installations.  Right tool for the job and all that.  The large triangular areas are house paint.  The shapes are artist acrylics.  This is a work in progress.  Needs a little more 'looking' and perhaps a few more shapes to the nebulous shape in the centre.

As is sometimes my custom, I had trouble with colour again.  Or at least, I thought I did.  Choosing for the shapes in the centre was hard.  But I sorted it, and I'm really pleased with the palette.  Part of my problem seems to be over-thinking.  It's terribly hard to turn off my brain.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Woodgrain contact

Yep, I finally did.  I have been pondering woodgrain contact all semester.  What might I use if for?  Where can I get it from? etc.  And here we are.

It's the larger Apple Peel that I wanted to try and in a limited palette. It's a fabulous medium to work in and goes up really fast.  If I had boundless time, I would like to do more versions - try other colours, other contact, maybe some patterns.  Would also be interesting done horizontally in this large scale.  I wonder if it would start to look decorative and what I could do to prevent that.  Hmm.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Installation Complete - I think

I think I will call this finished.  It just seemed complete when I went into the studio this morning.  So I spent some time moving all my stuff out of the studio so I could document it properly.

Also, I had a shot at hanging a paint in the installation to see what would happen.
This is what happened.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Installation WIP

I'm working on another installation in my studio at present.  Colour blocks of blue, green and pink.  I also have a template for a box on the wall in metalic green contact.  It's been an interesting medium to work with.  I have to cut the strips myself, which is a bit more fiddly than just using a roll of electrical tape.  But it does give more flexibility than electrical tape, as I can easly make thinner strips.

I have a bit of a thing for line drawings, like those for box templates.  I have been printing them off and dreaming of putting them on walls, around corners and suck.  Ooo!!  I must spend some time making one on a convex corner.  I can perhaps commandeer such a corner in the hallway at the studios and try that out.  Putting a box template around a corner like that would be quite the thing! :)

The shapes for the shapes have again come from the sensor pads in the road.  Love looking as them as I walk to/from the train.  There's some great ones of La Trobe St in the city that I just adore.  They have more lines.  Perhaps they will appear in a later work.

Have some more sitting and looking to do on this installation, which is a bit challenging, with only 4 weeks until assessment.  I feel like I have to be in a bit of a hurry to get a few more works done.  However, these types of works take a long time.  I will just keep plodding away.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Marked Paintings #3

I've been working on making these works on paper on and off over this semester.  And I now have a few pieces with which to try different configurations.  I should perhaps make another couple before commandeering a 'white cube' in which to photograph them. 

Apple Peel #2

A new manefestation of Apple Peel which was formerly brightly coloured.  It is now muted with opaque yellow.  I am pleased with the outcome.  Although I might try this again sometime.  Playing with colour and size. 

I feel I'm in a bit of a struggle to understand my own colour theory at the moment.  But I shall keep trying.  That's what seems to be the theme when I come across struggles with my art.  There is no quick fix.  You just have to do it to find out and go through the struggle.  So I shall be wrestling with colour. 


Something I need to start working on is relationships - relationships between my work and its surroundings.

Check out this photograph I took at random, as I do sometimes, of what was up against this wall of my studio.

The colour sings when they're together.  This puts me in mind.  I perhaps need to start thinking about putting my works on canvas onto murals or painted environments that extrapolate from the canvas.  Ronnie Rekko does that in his 2010 exhibition Native.
Or perhaps I need to experiment with most sculptural elements to place in front of the canvas.   Hmm... more work to be done.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Painterly shapes

I bought stretcher bars last week.  The largest I could justify.  I do love stretching canvas.  Except for the smell of rabbit skin glue - I could do without that.  This is (from memory) 56 x 42 inches.  She's a big one.  But oh so delighful.  I've been working on more shapes.  They shapes are painterly and transparent, with a handful of opaque shapes to change things up slightly.

On this painting, I've incorporated a 3D background, which has actually turned out to look like the corner of a room.  I wasn't planning for that, but it works.  I might consider adding an extra background colour to make it less 'cornery'.  We'll see.  This is a work in progress.  Not much more the do on this, but a couple of vital finishing touches!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Apple Peel

I have been working with drawings again.  This is one I drew and then cut out and folded along the lines.  It became like an unravelling shape, or an apple peel.  I wanted to see what would happen spatially if I put it on the wall and painted it around a corner.

I'm not altogether sure about the colours.  I had some trouble picking colours and I am considering painting over it with a more limited palette.  But we'll see what happens with a bit more looking.