Michael Nicholson (United Kingdom/Australia/New Zealand, 1916 — )
9 panels, each 122 x 31.5 cms
UTS Art Collection, transfer from Kuringgai College of Advanced Education, 1990
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Michael Nicholson’s early training in post-war England included postgraduate studies and a lectureship at the London Central School of Art and Design, after which he emigrated to New Zealand with his young family in the early 1950s, taking up a position in Auckland University teaching Architecture and Art. Colin McCahon included his work in the ‘Object and Image’ exhibition at the Auckland City Art Gallery in 1954. Alongside McCahon and Nicholson were works by Milan Mrkusich, Kass Jackson, Ross Frazer and Gabrielle Hope, an important moment for the establishment of abstract art in New Zealand.
Between 1960-1988, Nicholson relocated to Sydney where he expanded his interests into sculpture, murals, and film-making and participated in exhibitions at the Watters Gallery, the Mildura Sculpture Triennale, and the 1976 Biennale of Sydney. In 1968 Nicholson was included in the landmark exhibition ‘The Field’ that launched the new National Gallery of Victoria building, and heralded ‘Colour Field’ as a new style of abstraction set to challenge the dominance of expressionistic figurative painting in Australia.
Early in his time in Australia, Nicholson was also a founding member of the Sydney Printmakers Society, a group of professional artist-printmakers dedicated to the promoting printmaking as a vital contemporary artform. The screenprints in the UTS Art Collection were the product of workshops Nicholson ran for students from the NSW School of Architecture, where a set of screens were systematically repositioned to create an almost endless series of variations, dubbed the ‘Mile-long’ screenprint.