An illusion of indifference
Similarities and differences, depth and surface reflections combine in this exhibition to convey the anxieties and exhilaration of life. In these, his most recent works, Tomislav Nikolic continues to explore social interactions through a combination of large canvases of colour. Rather than seeking to reduce the human condition to essential truths, Nikolic's work is more concerned with the complexities and contradictions of social relationships.
It is then no surprise that the four separate works are interdependent. Yet each work contains its own passionate exploration of self, conveyed through Nikolic's obvious love of colour. The intense and repetitive process of layering colour upon colour gives the works a sensuousness that is only achievable through such a prolonged engagement with each canvas.
The primacy of the surfaces, the saturated canvases and the large expanse of pure colour all contribute to the works' strength and autonomy. On closer examination the connection between the four works becomes apparent. This is most explicit in the case of the works entitled, So What Am I So Afraid Of, We Don't Need To Go To Hell And Back Every Night and Cause You Don't let It Show.
These works carry references to each other by way of the colour combinations - three colours repeated in different pairings. The vibrancy of these works encourages a sense of connectedness achieved through Nikolic's creation of radiant, yet somehow porous colours, capable of both reflecting and absorbing light. As a result, each work appears to contain something of the other.
The works' titles not only convey their interdependence but also, by the use of popular song lyrics, invoke the more fraught aspects of intimacy.
It is tempting to think of the fourth work, State of Independence, as a separate project: one that stands in opposition to the three jostling, and somehow needy, song works. Yet, perhaps its state of independence arises from its proximity to, though separateness from, the others. Is its confident assertion of independence little more than a self serving affirmation? Alternatively, it may be that the cosy, though clearly dysfunctional, threesome perceive it as a threat.
Each one of Nikolic's canvasses provides infinite opportunities for self-reflection - together they invite us to consider the veracity of such reflections when faced with our status as social beings.
Kate MacNeill, November 2002