In his fifth solo exhibition with the gallery, Tucker Nichols presents a series of new works simply titled FLOWER PAINTINGS. Within the boundaries of each panel, flowers and leaves reach into empty space and push up against the edges. Many of the paintings depict arrangements of flowers straight on, like portraits. Others are cropped enlargements, like photographs you didn’t mean to take with your phone. Though shifting in scale and texture, the works are united by the sophistication and childlike exuberance that co-exist throughout Nichols’s work.

In contrast to previous exhibitions that have included drawings, paintings, and sculptures intermingled as cooperative installations, here small to large scale paintings are discretely hung to create a contemplative space. While investigating the long tradition of depicting floral still life, Nichols is actively thinking about flowers, art and our reliance on using abstract tools to convey important things we just don’t know how to say.

"Flowers are a secret language nobody understands. I’m guessing that over the ages, different flowers have conveyed critical messages among queens and spies and lost lovers. This kind of tulip, that color rose. A certain number of willow branches. No doubt world history has been shaped by these coded messages in ways we will never realize.

"And the same flowers can say completely different things. Congratulations. I’m sorry. I love you. I can’t believe you’re gone. Flowers weirdly don’t really mean anything except meaningfulness. And then they’re gone." – Tucker Nichols

Tucker Nichols lives and works near San Francisco. His work has been featured at the Drawing Center in New York, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Denver Art Museum, Den Frie Museum in Copenhagen, the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, and will be exhibited at the Aldrich Museum in 2017. Specials (2016), a series of 50 works commissioned by SFMOMA for the restaurant in their new building, will be unveiled in June.

His drawings have been published in McSweeney's, The Thing Quarterly, Nieves Book and the Op-Ed pages of The New York Times. He has collaborated on two children’s books, Crabtree, with his brother Jon Nichols, and This Bridge Will Not Be Gray, with author Dave Eggers. He is currently working on an illustrated memoir about flowers, art and illness.

Installation view: Tucker Nichols, Flower Paintings, ZieherSmith

Installation view: Tucker Nichols, Flower Paintings, ZieherSmith

Installation view: Tucker Nichols, Flower Paintings, ZieherSmith

Installation view: Tucker Nichols, Flower Paintings, ZieherSmith


top