A profound loss – John Nixon

As I am just exploring related artists from <13 ways of looking at a blackbird> from Steven’s notes. Under the headline of “content arising from the material of which the artwork is made” in the article, with the example of our lecturer’s note— “Art supplier vs. hardware shop – see John Nixon”, and then I finding out the bad news just happened to this date : ” The influential Australian abstract artist and leading exponent of radical modernism, John Nixon, has died at the age of 70 by struggle with leukaemia, at his home in Melbourne.” RIP…

Nixon’s minimalist, abstract aesthetic was influenced by the Russian avant-garde artist and art theorist Kazimir Malevich, that invented suprematism. John Nixon is a seminal figure in contemporary Australian abstraction. Since 1968, his work has been dedicated to the on-going experimentation, analysis and development of radical modernism, minimalism, the monochrome, constructivism, non-objective art and the readymade.

Kazimir Malevich Black Square 1913 © State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

Kazimir Malevich

Malevich called his new abstract approach to painting suprematism. Suprematism is all about the supremacy of colour and shape in painting. By sticking to simple geometric shapes and a limited range of colours he could focus on the painting itself and not be distracted by representing a scene, or landscape or a person.

He wanted to completely abandon depicting reality and instead invent a new world of shapes and forms. In his 1927 book The Non-Objective World, he wrote: ‘In the year 1913, trying desperately to free art from the dead weight of the real world, I took refuge in the form of the square.’

Malevich set out to change forever the idea that painting has to represent reality. It’s intriguing to think how doing something simple or even seemingly dull, can sometimes be revolutionary.


+ what materials other than paint / paper that i’m ready to explore? will i be thinking about grouping by their colour / form / materials?

+ i like the idea of Suprematism / Primary Abstraction, as i like painting without the distraction of painting the likeness of a person in a portraiture, will this be able to communicate my ideas by defying figurative associations?