Tuesday, August 25, 2015


Nicholas Ives practices predominately in oil painting, and currently works from Melbourne Australia. 

Nicholas has been exhibiting throughout Australia for the past 15 years, and has held numerous solo exhibitions as well as participated in over 40 group exhibits across commercial, artist-run and state-run galleries. In addition, Nicholas has curated and co-curated exhibitions, ranging from independent pop-ups as well as the Linden Centre for Contemporary Art. 

With a strong interest in responding to time and place and his environment Nicholas has held studios abroad in Prato, Italy and Berlin, Germany, and has travelled widely across Europe, the U.S., and Asia.

Ives' practice explores the idea that the incidents and experiences of painting can articulate multiple possibilities for newly lived realities. For Ives, a painting is the mid-state of an event that operates as an experience with infinite divergence; that is, the instability of the painting process is a fluid reality that moves in the direction of the unlimited. The moment of painting is lived and defies abstraction, as it is an experiential travel towards a multitude of moments both past, future and side by side. 

Nicholas Ive's work is currently included in our group exhibition Future Process, co-curated by Michael Staniak and Ryan McGennisken. To coincide with the exhibition, we asked Nicholas to tell us a little more about his artistic practice...

Nicholas Ives_I’ve been tricked again_2015_oil on linen_95x105cm

Describe your work in 100 words or less: 

My work has focused on figuration over the last few years, however I view the figure as a 'painterly' site where many ideas can be explored. These pieces are dreamy, absurd and have a touch of a collage... They are unstable, illogical. They deal with ideas of irrationally while being fully engaged with the materiality of paint and the strange pursuit of their own creation.

Why Art? 

I can't do much else! But anything creative is vital in life I think, it's organic and is an amazing opportunity to remove yourself from the routines of day to day life. Art is also vital I think to society and culture and can foster new ideas, encourage debate and enable change.

Has your artistic practice changed over time? 

Yes & no. I try to remain open to stimuli around me - It keeps me in the present moment, and so my work has organically evolved over the years. There are tentpole ideas I seem to return to, the figure, but I avoid style - I never want to feel that I can't explore a certain idea or way of working because it doesn't fit my constructed 'singular ' narrative. I have explore the found-object, figurative painting from found sourced material, limited & stoic portraiture for a number of years that has recently evolved to more absurd, brighter figuration.

Nicholas Ives_For no reason and I'll admit i really don't know_2015_oil on linen_156x125cm each

Which artistic movements do you most identify with? 

No singular movement, but I can observe a figurative painting tradition that has evolved through time & various cultures around the world. I'm drawn to Spainsh classism- Velasquez, Goya, through to Manet and Cezanne. Recently perhaps Hockney, Bacon & Freud, and the contemporary work of Neo Rauch, Michael Borremans.

How do you work? Can you tell us about your process? 

I really like to always move and experiment with new things. With every new piece or small series I try to include a new element, I try to alter my way of working. This 'disruption' is a strong theme for me, like the 'black swan' theory which alters preconceived ideas. I enjoy exploring these themes or instability and divergence- the fluidity of paint is perfect for this.

What themes and ideas do you pursue? 

These ideas of divergence and rupture from a singular form lead to an infinite field of possibilities. The absurdity of a world of multiple realities excites me, and this fluid and unstable existence that we live is inspiration enough to create something new every time I begin working.

Nicholas Ives_I’ve been tricked again_2015_oil on linen_95x105cm

What is your dream project? 

I don't think I have one really, I focus more on the present.... But I love getting involved with other artists or anyone really to explore ideas so maybe a big collaborative project.

Where would you like to be in 5 years? 

I guess I'd love to be in a position where I can just paint everyday. Travel is a big thing for me as it expands your world and forces to you move, change, adapt and not become rigid in your thinking. I'd like to be travelling, living in another country maybe...?

If your work was a…

• Song, it would be… human & felt
• Smell, it would be… intriguing
Meal, it would be… delicious
• Animal, it would be… friendly
• Word, it would be… evocative
• YouTube video, it would be… http://youtu.be/ZqzESY7SIqU

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