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Images: Michael Nicholson Show Opening

Press Release

aH'Ha

A Michael Nicholson Studio Installation

15 June - 15 July 2001

The Michael Hirschfeld Gallery

An hypnotic revolving sculpture, using coloured light and shapes beamed onto the back of the Gallery wall, is just one aspect of a new installation by Michael Nicholson, opening at the Michael Hirschfeld Gallery this week.

Nicholson, aged 85, has described his work as a "visual song" and a "dance about nothing". aH'Ha explores ideas that have been central to his art practise of the past 50 years, showing how a found object from the 'real' world can be progressed through different art practises such as photography, sculpture, painting, installation and film.

"Michael Nicholson's art aspires to the condition of music," writes Gregory O'Brien. "He is an abstract painter with an obsessive interest in the real." Like Len Lye, he has been greatly influenced by jazz. His video works translate sound to image and vice versa. Effects of light, shade and projected colour are as important as the three-dimensional materials in his sculptural installations. Echoes of Len Lye (and more recently the sound-sculptures of Philip Dadson) can be seen in the way Nicholson uses technologies to explore fundamental areas of human perception.

An English immigrant, Nicholson arrived in New Zealand in 1953. He has worked as a theorist, teacher and sculptor, and video artist. Nicholson's work was included in the influential Auckland City Art Gallery exhibition, Object and Image, 1954, alongside paintings by Colin McCahon and Milan Mrkusich. His exhibitions since then have been few but significant. A remarkable mural was featured in the Auckland Art Gallery's Fifties Show in 1992, and his work was included in a satellite exhibition to the National Art Gallery's 1994 Art Now exhibition.

Michael Nicholson was born in the United Kingdom in 1916. After studying at the City & Guilds School of Art, London, he enlisted in the army, was evacuated on the last destroyer from Dunkirk, then went on to serve in India and Burma. Following study in London, he immigrated in 1953 to Auckland, where he lectured at Elam School of Art until 1961 at which time he transplanted to Sydney, where worked for almost 30 years. Since 1988 he has been based in Wellington, exhibiting his work at dealer galleries as well as Artspace (Auckland), 1991, the Sarjeant Gallery, 1994, and City Gallery Wellington in 1995.

aH'Ha - A Michael Nicholson Studio Installation is presented within the programme 360 - a full perspective on Wellington Art, which is generously sponsored by Designworks.

ENDS

Anne Irving Publicist T: 04 801 3959 F: 04 801 3950 Telecom Prospect 2001 - New Art New Zealand 12 April - 1 July 2001 www.newartnz.org.nz Admission free Check out: http://www.city-gallery.org.nz


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