Exhibition Dates: September 8–October 28, 2017
Opening Reception: Friday, September 8, 6–9pm
Music by the Prosumer BIG BOX Jazz Combo
Exhibition Hours: Tuesday–Friday 10am–5pm | Saturday 11am–5pm
Gallery 16 is pleased to present Patio Music, a solo exhibition by Bay Area artist Tucker Nichols. This new collection of paintings is a study in mixed feelings depicted through decorative objects—flowers in vases, decorative bushes, garden statuaries and related abstract forms. Many of the works are vibrant storms of energy, while others are somber and sweet. All of them seem to express conflicting emotions: cheerful and sad, serious and funny. A giant bowl of overflowing candies conveys a feeling of overly insistent good times. A bush form appears so tightly wrapped in straps that it can’t breathe. A vase exploding with flowers is just barely contained by the edges of the painting. Taken together, the paintings offer a sense of the possibility—and inherent futility—of art as a tool for expressing what words cannot.
Patio Music includes approximately 30 new works created with discarded house paint on wood panel and framed works on paper. The exhibition is accompanied by a catalog of photographs, sculptures and paintings that gives a broader sense of Nichols’s work and his often funny perspective on the world around us.
“This is a strange time to be making such colorful paintings,” Nichols acknowledges. “But under the initial positive energy there’s a lot of confusion and fear too, trust me. Painting is a magical, mysterious format for expression. It’s great for capturing a driving spirit but horrible for conveying anything specific. It’s like typing with mittens.”
As flowers serve as malleable messengers in Nichols’s paintings, they also provide the perfect amount of content for him to remain free in his work. The New York Times’ Roberta Smith writes, “Part of the modernity and joy of Mr. Nichols’s paintings is the suggestion that all the elements in a composition are autonomous. The pictures are all temporary arrangements that will scatter as soon as you look away. That they seem eager to do so is part of their strength.” Nichols continues this sense of play and innovative use of space for Patio Music. By including more elements of a suggested environment in his newest paintings, he offers a slight departure from his typical straight-on, headshot-like perspective. These vague hints of place, neither indoor nor outdoor, suggest an almost surreal social gathering. Patio Music is a dreamlike collection of unexpected objects on display, like snapshots from a grand party you find yourself at well before any other guests have arrived.
About the artist: Tucker Nichols lives in Northern California. His work has been featured at the Drawing Center in New York, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Denver Art Museum, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. His first solo museum exhibition, Almost Everything On The Table, will open at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, CT in May of 2018.
His drawings have been published in McSweeney's, The Thing Quarterly, Nieves Books and the Op-Ed pages of The New York Times. He is co-author of the books Crabtree (with Jon Nichols) and This Bridge Will Not Be Gray (with Dave Eggers).
About Gallery 16: Gallery 16 was founded in 1993 by artist Griff Williams with the primary focus of representing and advocating for the work of living contemporary artists. In addition to the regular exhibition schedule, the gallery sponsors artists talks, and hosts performances and music throughout the year. It’s their belief that the brick and mortar gallery model, to be culturally relevant, needs to embody new strategies for facilitating and presenting artist’s projects. The space, as Williams describes it, “allows for the artist to fail. We don’t create exhibitions around curatorial agendas, but extend an invitation to artists we trust and hope they use the opportunity to challenge themselves without restrictions.”
The Gallery 16 exhibition program functions alongside their print studio which operates under the imprint Gallery 16 Editions. They were among the first print studios in the United States to combine traditional and digital print methods to create original artist editions. They continue to publish print editions, artist books, and multiples.
The gallery space is located on the ground floor of a historic building at the corner of Bryant and Third Street in the South of Market area of San Francisco. Gallery 16 is active internationally as well as locally, working with individual collectors and museums alike in support of artists including Michelle Grabner, Reed Anderson, Tucker Nichols, Jason Middlebrook, Libby Black, Amy Franceschini, and others. They have collaborated with many of the top art institutions around the world on acquisitions and exhibitions, including Whitney Museum Of American Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, Berkeley Art Museum, MASS MoCA, Orange County Museum of Art, SFMOMA. Gallery 16 participates in a select number of art fairs each year and has facilitated public projects for gallery artists in San Francisco, Denver, Houston, Saudi Arabia, Washington DC, New York, among other locations.