Nick Ives | An arbitrary device in the belly of a whale | March 17 - April 29


Fort Delta is pleased to announce ‘An arbitrary device in the belly of a whale’ an exhibition of new work by Nick Ives. This is Ives’ second solo exhibition at the gallery, following his solo exhibition ‘Smile’ in 2016.  The exhibition will be on view from March 17 until April 29. An opening reception will be held at the gallery on Thursday March 16 from 6:00 – 8:00pm.

With an emphasis on painterly handling and kaleidoscopic colour themes – most notably tones of yellow and black, combined distinctively in a repeated leopard print motif – Ive’s new series of works continues his exploration of the intersection between the sinister and the playful, intricacies of the carnivalesque, that are able to be embodied in the medium of paint.

Comprising thirteen character studies, the exhibition evokes traditions in portrait painting found in western art history and, more specifically, the role of portraiture in revealing power, propaganda and privilege. Each of the figures represented in Ives’ new series asserts a position in the pantheon of historic power brokers, extending from Renaissance Florence to today. Where Velázquez paints the five year-old daughter of King Philip IV of Spain in his celebrated account of seventeenth-century court life (‘Las Meninas’, 1656), Ives presents a series of noble and ignoble figures from fantasy environments, hybrid characters that preside over their own half concealed kingdoms in the canvas.

Yet the eccentricities of the characters in Ives’ series, the enigmatic outlandishness of their guises and visages, simultaneously challenge notions of the ‘power portrait’, drawing inspiration from sources as broad as popular cartoons and the composite portraits of Giuseppe Arcimboldo. This exhibition expands the artist’s characteristic probe of both the irreverent and the philosophical, asking the viewer to consider the more menacing ideas attributed to our ‘civilisation’, such as cultural propaganda, while also inviting them to revel in the fancifulness of imagination.

Nicholas Ives is a Melbourne based artist. He holds a Masters of Fine Arts (Research) and a Bachelor of Fine Art (Hons, Painting) from Monash University. In 2015 he was a finalist in the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize and was also a semi-finalist in 2013. Recent solo exhibitions include; ‘Smile’ Fort Delta, Melbourne, 2016; ‘MoonFace’ Stockroom, Kyneton, 2015; ‘Holy $#!­!’, Rubicon ARI, Nth Melbourne, 2014; ‘I am flying through boundless space’, Paradise Hills, Richmond, 2012. Recent Group exhibitions include; Umbelliferous Portraits with artist Michael Vale, Rubicon ARI, Nth Melbourne, 2015; Other Side, Counihan Gallery, Brunswick, 2015; ‘Ronald Greenaway – Artist and his world’, Town Hall Gallery, Hawthorn, 2015; ‘Future Process’ Artereal Gallery, Rozelle NSW, 2015; ‘So Much Staying Alive and Lovelessness’, Tristian Koenig Gallery, Collingwood, 2015, ‘Either Side’ James Makin Gallery, Collingwood, 2014. Recent publications include; Puny Humans, Self Published, 2013; The Rest is Silence, Death Be Kind 2009-2011, E.Richardson, C.Lambe 2011, Welcome to Paradise, Paradise Hills Gallery, 2011. Collections: Works held in private collections throughout Australia and New Zealand.