LIO MALCA PRESENTS:
JONNY NIESCHE AT LA NAVE SALINAS
July 15 - October 27, 2023
In July 2023, Fundacion La Nave Salinas inaugurates _ness, a solo exhibition by Australian artist Jonny Niesche. The works in the show are of monumental size and were conceived specifically for this space.
The artist’s first solo exhibition in Spain exhibits works of hypnotic minimalism where viewers are encouraged to explore their own unique sensory perceptions within the works and dynamic space.
Niesche's three monumental works at La Nave are accompanied by the sound of a black hole at the center of the Perseus galaxy. The recording, captured by NASA last year, has been flattened and stretched for this occasion to exist in harmony with Niesche's exhibition.
Jonny Niesche’s (b. 1972, Sydney, Australia) creative practice embodies the sublime. His works captivate the eye with their alluring colors and reflective forms, while inviting viewers to explore the shifting modes of perception created by their space, form, and materiality. These explorations elicit a range of sensations for the viewer, like emptiness, calmness, happiness, and other personal sensory experiences. While reflecting in Niesche’s at La Nave in this participatory environment, each viewer brings on a new meaning to the exhibition, _ness. In English, the suffix "ness" is used to create nouns from adjectives. At La Nave, the title of the exhibition is related to the objective of providing visitors with a unique space allowing them to capture their emotions and feelings, thus constructing the name that best defines them.
Niesche’s work brings forth a dialogue between the themes of sunsets and the aesthetics of glam rock. He is “interested in playing with beauty mixed with a touch of bad taste that gives the works a bit of rupture.” Growing up during the golden age of rock music, he was inspired by the unexpected synergies of glamor and music iconography. He draws inspiration from the visits with his mother to the cosmetic sections at elegant department stores, where a myriad of colors and reflective surfaces were met with the heavily perfumed air. An avid fan of Debbie Harry, Captain Beefheart, and David Bowie, Niesche incorporates his inspiration of the beats of the 1970’s and the era of glamor which permeate throughout the artist’s works.
Niesche created his own unique language of minimalism drawing from these experiences during his formative years. His practice is attributed to “color field painting,” a style of abstract painting that emerged in New York during the 1940’s and 1950’s. It is closely associated with Abstract Expressionism, which includes influences by Mark Rothko – although Rothko refused any label - as well as Donald Judd and Dan Flavin.
Throughout his works, Niesche explores other mediums that accentuate the light, color, space, and materiality within his works while abandoning canvases, oils, and figuration. The artist notes that by limiting his choices, he is forced to focus on the very specific elements; these open up new ideas and ways of thinking about creation for the artists. Working with digital images of vibrant colors, Niesche then transfers the digital images to voile through sublimation - a process that transfers ink to fabric using high heats. The voile fabric is then stretched against metals and mirrors, a conscious material choice that allows his works to interact with both their surrounding architecture and the reflection of the viewer.
Niesche’s hope for viewers is to elicit an experience with a desire similar to that of looking through a shop window at something desired and, where at some point, you are surprised by your own reflection. “That is an interesting point that I like to play with,” Niesche explained.
“My work explores the expanded field of painting and abstraction. I have always been obsessed with the sublime and how to have an almost transcendental experience with the work. Not in a religious sense, but rather in the belief in the spirituality of abstraction. I want to provide a space where you can turn off the noise and have a place to think. Cut everything out and disappear into something”.
“I came late to the art world. In the late nineties, I was living in New York and playing in hardcore bands making experimental music. However, I spent a lot of time wandering around the galleries in Chelsea. I returned to Sydney in 2001, I was 28. Helping my parents sell a house, I stumbled upon painting while making the 'For Sale' sign. I got hooked”. Two years later, at the age of thirty, he enrolled in the Sydney College of the Arts. Later, he would do a master's degree in Vienna with the artist Heimo Zobernig. To him, he owes the determination to find his own language and break with the two-dimensional.
Currently, Niesche lives and works in Sydney. He has exhibited in galleries in London, New York, Vienna, and Los Angeles. His work has also been exhibited in various institutions, including the Lyon Housemuseum, Melbourne (2023); Kunstsammlung WestLotto, Münster (2022); Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney (2019); Casula Powerhouse, Sydney (2019); The Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide (2019); ARTSPACE, Sydney (2017); National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (2016) and the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne (2016).
His work can be found in important private collections in Europe, the UK, the United States, South America, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Australia, as well as in public institutions such as: Art Gallery of South Australia; Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney; National Gallery of Victoria, Lyon Housemuseum; M.O.N.A. Museum of New and Old Art; and ARTBANK.