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  • Angus Nivison work 'Beacon' a finalist in the 2022 Wynne Prize at Art Gallery of New South Wales
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"Some artists are pitifully exposed by a survey or retrospective... Nivison, however, is a painter who seems to grow in stature when the work of two decades is brought together in one place."

John McDonald, Sydney Morning Herald
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“Wrath”, the show, and the works that comprise it, skirts around all the great themes of life, love, morality and finally mortality. The works themselves do not release their secrets easily, and they demand a longer look. Joy, beauty, terror and mystery are all to be found within these works, along with a certain sense of a beginning of a journey, “Endless Yet Never”.

Angus Nivison, Walcha, New South Wales, September 2022
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Above: 'Wrath', 2022, acrylic and pigments on polyester/cotton, 188 x 168 cm
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Above: 'Rapture', 2022, acrylic and pigments on polyester/cotton, 188 x 168 cm
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Above: 'Endless Yet Never', 2022, acrylic and pigments on paper, 115 x 106 cm
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Above: 'Avernus', 2022, acrylic and pigments on paper, 121 x 212 cm
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Angus Nivison is one of the nicest people you will ever meet, his good humour and easy going demeanour make him an artist with a lot of friends and plenty of loyal supporters.

But his work is far from easy going. It's often very demanding and dark revealing the deeper side of the artist that comes out in the studio.

Much is made of Angus’ links with the land and there is no doubt that his first hand experiences with elemental forces have had a big influence. Drought, rain, or lack of, bushfires, wild winds, dramatic scenery, glorious sunsets, the reflection of the moon in a dam are all only too real, the grandeur and the beauty, the cruelty and destruction.

This is his lived experience and, while his paintings and drawings have the look of this world, it is in his titles that you see humanity is his real subject, the brilliance and stupidity, the pain and the ecstacy, life and death.

WRATH is the title of this exhibition, a strangely vengeful and angry choice from this gentle man, but it is not surprising, as anyone who loves humanity can also wish divine chastisement on those who care not.

Endless Yet Never is a line stolen from Colin McCahon’s last painting that he got from Revelations in the King James Bible. Plenty of wrath there!

You would think that these pictures might thus be very dark, but as always, there is a light still burning bright in the darkness. In fact these paintings are as beautiful as ever. Try as he might Nivison at heart is an optimist.

Christopher Hodges, Director, Utopia Art Sydney
About Angus Nivison:

Angus Nivison is inspired by the natural surroundings of his property in the northern tablelands of NSW. Through his paintings he explores landscape, memory and the human condition.

Angus was born in the New England area at Walcha where he grew up. Walcha is cold, hard country. Nivison has lived on a working property in Walcha his whole life, knowing everyone around him, witnessing the cycles of life and death.

“The most recent Nivison works include trademark brooding blacks, darker groups of colours that reflect recent effects of climate change plus what he’s seen around him and what he’s felt from the wider, more challenged world.

“Amongst the blacks and greys, are splashes of bright open colour. His brushwork is sweeping, the hand is clear, the mark making expressive, and he is in control. These are paintings of what has been and the premonition of what may come.

“There are also tantalising pink paintings, where a sun shines with a beacon of hope, and a romantic vision only adds to the deep forces that now run through Nivison’s work.

“This Australia is not of gum trees but of an ancient landscape full of magic and secrets and dark power that only Angus Nivison can make us feel and see.

”Angus Nivison has been an important part of Australian art since the 70s and his impressive debut with Anne Lewis’ famously influential Galley A.

Angus Nivison won the Wynne Prize in 2002. His work is part of most major Australian museum and private collections; he’s been represented by leading contemporary galleries; Gallery A, Bloomfield, Coventry Gallery, BBA and Utopia Art Sydney: had 30 solo and 116 group shows; and is a multi-year finalist for both Wynne and Archibald prizes.

Click here for more information about "Angus Nivison - A Survey" curated by Sandra McMahon, Director of Tamworth Regional Gallery. This show opened at The Tamworth Regional Gallery 16 June, 2012 and concluded at the S.H. Ervin Gallery, Sydney in February 2013. Read reviews of the Survey Show and view catalogue.
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Above: Angus Nivison in his studio painting ‘Star Turn’, 2016, image courtesy of Utopia Art Sydney. Painting details: Angus Nivison, Star Turn, 2016, acrylic spray paint and pigment on poly/cotton, 188 x 504 cm.

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