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Photosheets 2015

25.08.2016 – 10.09.2016

John Nixon

The camera here is used as an extension of the eye—of looking. Most of the photographs have been taken in my local environment, in my Briar Hill garden/house/studio focusing on elements or details within this environment, however others are taken in foreign countries. The photographs are taken close-up to the subject with attention to detail and composition, and with a textural and abstract overview. Though drawn from the real, they further my ongoing exploration of the abstract.

The principles for what I photograph are:
Colour/Black/White
Sunshine/Shadow
Texture/Flatness
Circle/Diagonal
Nature/Architecture
Organic/Geometric
Textile/Building material
Straight line/Curved line

As photography itself is the centre of my inquiry, I can take photographs wherever I am, with no need for special locations. This group of works, for example, began in earnest in August 2011 when I photographed some black and white, geometrically patterned silk fabrics in the window of Job Warehouse in Bourke Street, Melbourne. What interested me was that this subject was already inherently black and white. From here, the qualities of contrast, white/sunlight—black/shadow, became the focus of these photographic studies.

The techniques I have used are standard, not special. The photographs were taken with a small Canon s100 and s120 digital camera. They were then printed at the standard size of 6 x 4 inches using the ‘self-serve’ Kodak Picture Kiosk available locally at Officeworks.

I have presented the photographs on cream-coloured Foolscap Manila Folders, which serve as framing devices, creating what I refer to as ‘photosheets’. This format allows me to organise the images as information, for example, by arranging them in various pairings. This helps to clarify the intention of each of the five groupings of photographs presented here.

We mostly see photographs in printed form—in books, magazines, newspapers etc. The format of the photosheets allows me to organise visual information by the traditional means of ‘cut and paste’—a manual method inherent to ‘old-style’ graphic design (book design/layout).

John Nixon lives in Briar Hill, Melbourne. An early and steadfast exponent of the minimalist sensibility in Australia, Nixon had his first solo exhibition in 1973 at Pinacotheca in Melbourne and, around a decade later, in 1982, was selected by Germano Celant to represent Australia at Documenta 7 in Kassel, Germany. Before long, all major state museums in Australia had collected his work. In 1999 he was the winner of Clemenger Contemporary Art Award, Melbourne and in 2001/02 he was the recipient of an Australia Council Fellowship Award. Nixon’s 2014 solo exhibitions were in New York and Amsterdam, and also in 2014, besides his inclusion in One Place After Another at PICA, his work was included in the exhibition Elementary Painting at the Kunstmuseum St. Gallan in Switzerland.

Several large-scale exhibitions surveying aspects of his work have been held at: the City Gallery in Wellington in 1997, Dunedin Public Art Gallery in 1997, Kunstmuseum Singen in Germany, Kunstmuseum Baselland in Basel, Switzerland, Stiftung fur Konkrete Kunst in Reutlingen, Germany, the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art in Melbourne, the Art Gallery of Western Australia in Perth; the TarraWarra Museum of Art in Healesville and at KalimanRawlins in Melbourne.

Nixon has regular solo exhibitions at: Anna Schwartz Gallery in Melbourne, Sarah Cottier Gallery in Sydney, Goddard de Fiddes Gallery in Perth, Sue Crockford Gallery in Auckland, Hamish McKay Gallery in Wellington and Galerie Mark Müller in Zurich.

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