Tomislav Nikolic's newest paintings reverse the orthodox protocol whereby the most vigorous activity, chromatically at least, now takes place at the very edge of the frame. Nikolic has always held the frame in curious regard. This "false" architectural boundary ought not to operate as some visual "no-man's land" between the edge of the painted canvas and the wall. For Nikolic the architecture of the frame provides four further planes that invite, indeed demand attention. In these most recent paintings the physical edge has been replaced by a glowing reflection of colour against the wall -- the back of the object proclaiming -- asserting a role for itself as much as the front.
The flamboyance of the perimeters' colours seems initially at odds with the demure nature of the interior. The softest, almost illegible surfaces of the interior have had their intensity subsumed by many, many layers of marble dust, burying the pigment in a myriad of gesture and repetition. Thus the interior carries a memory of process -- time and patience, movement and nuance establish the most exquisite space. If Matisse wanted to make art with the qualities of a "good armchair" -- a "soothing calming influence on the mind", then Tomislav Nikolic wants to give us rose-red silk pillow. For his are a space readied for the "drift" -- a conceptual and visual field where we oscillate between the energy of REM state (the edge of sleep) and the slow seductive drift of the deep interior.
Even the negative detail that exists between the painted stretcher and the internal edge of the moulding is not neglected. In each of these seven works Nikolic has used gold leaf of various characters -- lemon, yellow etc to create the slimmest zip of light. Only visible intermittently or when positioned directly in front of the works this decision serves to quietly remind us that colour is nothing without light.
Andrew Jensen March 2012