George Nick: A Desperate View
Oct 4 – Nov 2 at Gallery NAGA
George Nick’s twelfth solo exhibition will round out the fall at Gallery NAGA. Never one to miss an opportunity to show his work, Nick had this exhibition scheduled even before his last exhibition in November of 2017. And mark your calendars: his next show, in the fall of 2021, is already on the books. At 92, Nick isn’t wasting any time.
Nick’s painting exhibition at NAGA is as idiosyncratic as ever. Long gone are the brownstone facades of the Back Bay, replaced instead with wacky, complex scenes that continue to challenge this veteran painter.
A quirky and decrepit machine, unrecognizable as to its intended purpose, is positioned against a sky of rich blue. Katya’s Bridal Shower depicts a sleek, marbled bathroom with a tub jutting towards the viewer. The coolness of the white marble is tempered by the warm glow of a light source out of sight. This was the ultimate test of tone and light for Nick.
Nick exhibits his mastery, employing the brush with confidence and energy to recreate the world reduced to pure color and form. However effortless the final results may look, these paintings are truly a product of Nick’s “wrestling” with the medium. When asked about a specific painting, Nick starts by talking about all the paintings that led up to that one. He says, “I’ve abandoned every painting I’ve made,” explaining that he is constantly re-thinking and correcting. In fact, his only self-portrait in the exhibition flaunts an unfinished background.
Deliberately blurring the line between realism and expressionism, Nick has described his painting style as intuitive and inventive. What we see between the frames is not a moment frozen in time but a collection of moments that unify in our mind’s eye. Nicks’ paintings are complicated, he is constantly running in circles, following ideas that lead to moments of clarification which, in turn, give birth to a new set of problems and intangible thoughts waiting to be chased down and painted.