1988/0166 A cultural terrorist

A cultural terrorist

Artist

Trevor NICKOLLS
Indigenous
Birth:
1949
 in
Adelaide, South Australia
Death:
2012
 in
Adelaide, South Australia

Artwork

Title
A cultural terrorist
Date
1987
Medium/Material
synthetic polymer paint on canvas
Dimensions
125.5 x 125.1 cm (Height x Width x Depth)
Credit line
Purchased 1988
State Art Collection, Art Gallery of Western Australia
Accession Number
1988/0166
Currently not on display

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Extended Label

Trevor Nickolls and Rover Thomas were the first Indigenous artists to represent Australia at the prestigious Venice Biennale, in 1990. Many of Nickolls's paintings express allegorical and condensed representations of an existence within an increasingly industrialised environment. The artist often portrays himself as a metaphor for Everyman, drawing on his personal experience of mixed heritage.A cultural terrorist projects the stark reality of the grotesque power of city development. A huge, intense central figure looms threateningly in front of a backdrop, the split facial device harking back to the archetype of earlier works like Political/spiritual (1981), though in this painting, done six years later, there is no harmony or balance of the emotive imagery. The tessellated patterning is a remnant of Arnhem Land cross-hatching (rarrk), revised and reformulated into cracked pavements. The painting is resolved through the use of only four primary colours - it is almost a drawing in paint. 11 Acknowledgments to O'Ferrall, 1990 Venice Biennale, Australia: Rover Thomas - Trevor Nickolls (Perth: Art Gallery of Western Australia, 1990).

Curatorial insightA cultural terrorist projects the stark reality of the grotesque power of city development. The intensity and size of the central figure looms threateningly in front of this backdrop. The split facial device harks back to the archetype of Nickolls' 1981 Political/spiritual and other works, though in the 1987 painting there is no harmony or balance of the emotive imagery. The tessellated patterning is a remnant of Arnhem Land cross-hatching, revised and reformulated into cracked pavements. The painting is resolved through the use of only four primary colours and is almost a drawing in paint. (O’Ferrall, 1990 Venice Biennale: Rover Thomas – Trevor Nickolls, 1990)

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