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.