Mike Nicholls is a multi-talented artist. He is as adept with the paintbrush as the chainsaw, the pencil and the chisel. His paintings over recent years have been pared back, bordering at time on the minimal. His sculpture is the opposite – gnarled and elegant, brutal and beatific, it is nothing if not complex.Biography
Born in 1960 Mike Nicholls grew up on a dairy farm at Narre Warren North on the outskirts of Melbourne, where he still has a studio-gallery and maintains the family property.
He majored in sculpture and the Caulfield Institute of Technology receiving a high distinction in his final year for his fabricated steel sculptures.
From the formal training in abstraction, where he concentrated on line, balance, movement and gesture, Mike migrated to Fitzroy in the early eighties becoming a founding member of Roar Studios, his work influenced by the fellow artist’s of Roar, made a shift to expressionistic figuration.
By the mid 1980’s the artists eye sought to simplify his previously visually busy works, Nicholls has slowly cultivated his quietly methodical practice; paring it back and reducing it to an elemental visual diary.
Mike has sought to incorporate an Australian-ness within his art; much of his reference has been visually and culturally sourced through travelling on plien air painting trips for months at a time, spending time on relatives cattle stations in central Queensland and visiting remote areas within Australia. Mike has held woodcarving workshops in remote aboriginal communities of Cape York and the Torres Strait, as well as extensive overseas travel.
He has developed a deeply personal vocabulary of motifs, striving to create a sense of feeling and or place, focusing on his ultimate goal of imbuing his work with expression, soul and a reflection of the human spirit.
“The Burden of Love”
Red Gum 2001
“Guided by Love”
Huon Pine 2014
Painted Red Gum 2006
“Requisition of Dark Matter”
Lemon scented gum & iron oxide patina 2011
h75 x w35 x d26 cm
Red gum and iron oxide patina 2013
Grey Box 2005
“Contemplating The Soul”
Oil on Linen 2013
137 x 122cm
Charred lemon scented gum with concrete base 2015
300 x 2100cm
“Fear no evil”
White box, iron oxide patina 2014