Bunjil Place Studio | 20 February -7 March 2021
Working from his studio in Narre Warren North, local artist Mike Nicholls has spent over four decades developing a deeply personal vocabulary of motifs that range from the seed, egg, hand and limbs to diving figures and the shield. From Saturday 20 February – Sunday 7 March, visitors will get to explore a selection of key paintings and sculptures created by the artist over the years, set to exhibit in the Bunjil Place Studio space.
The Shield draws upon Nicholls’ interdisciplinary approaches such as painting, printmaking and drawing. Presenting over 40 works, the exhibition brings the artist’s developmental processes into focus, it shows how artworks are a complex and nuanced way of highlighting embodied knowledge and how it aligns with identity, explored through the language of contemporary art.
During the 1980’s, Nicholls’ early paintings consisted of multiple figures. Being a formalist at heart, the hectic nature of his works disturbed him and from that point the artist began reducing and refining his works to a minimal aesthetic.
Nicholls soon began to eliminate certain features of the figures in his paintings, such as the face to a certain extent, and concentrated on revelry through the use of limbs and hands, bottles, glasses and tables. These motifs became his tool in exploring the landscape and social contexts.
Over the years, this imagery crept into the artists’ sculptures, and the refinement of the table-form morphed into the motif of the shield. The shield has many metaphors; it has been used by Nicholls to represent identity, interception and protection.
For more recent works, the shield takes the form of a protective spirit, which for Nicholls is representative of human conscious, a vessel, a canoe to traverse to a spiritual other world.
Bunjil Place is an award-winning cultural precinct in the City of Casey that first opened in 2017. The name and striking architectural design of the facility were inspired by stories of Bunjil (also known as ‘Bundjil’) the ‘creator’, from our First Nation’s People. Bringing together an outdoor community plaza, theatre, multipurpose studio, function centre, library, gallery and more – Bunjil Place is a destination for high quality arts and entertainment in Melbourne’s south east.
Mike Nicholls: The Shield
Bunjil Place Studio
20 February – 7 March 2021
2 Patrick Northeast Drive, Narre Warren Free for all. No bookings required. https://www.bunjilplace.com.au/mike-nicholls
Image caption: Mike Nicholls. Photo by Earl Carter.