MICHAEL NICHOLS

2019 OCTOBER SUMMARY

For over a decade, painter Michael Nichols has researched applications of buon fresco, an ancient technique of painting on fresh wet plaster. In essence, fresco is a method of making colored stone. While it has a long and distinguished history, particularly as an architectural feature, fresco is a rare medium for contemporary expression due to its difficulty, rigidity, and fragility. Nichols works to push the traditional boundaries of fresco in ways that respect the medium’s history while offering new meaning for contemporary viewers. The artist applies mists of pigment on fresh plaster until ghostly figures emerge. The atomized dispersal of pigment creates veiled subjects whose identities are unfixed and unknown, unlike historic portraiture. The ultimate works are vibrant with intrinsic color, but lightweight and portable, interpretable as a new iteration of fresco.