Nikolas Gambaroff’s paintings and assemblages are all about act of painting, the process, and how we perceive it in relationship to its history and within contemporary visual culture. As he says himself:
In my work I try to dissect, deconstruct, and re-evaluate (mainly within the limits of the activity painting) the customs, expectations and myths that painting as part of our visual culture brings along.
After leaving aside the intellectual discourse and conceptual ideas that permeate through these paintings they remain beautiful objects, pictures, images. His deconstruction and re-appropriation of newspapers, posters and found images are beautifully executed and are, in some ways, an affront to everything from Dadaist collage to pop art paintings. His pictures are scenes of systematic destruction, each work carefully pulled, torn and marked, our preconceived notions of collage, paintings and assemblage challenged by the very process of his art making.
From what I’ve learnt of Gamaroff his questioning of the viewer goes beyond the picture frame. His exhibitions are staged to highlight the problems of the support structures of art – including the problems of exhibiting itself – and he often introduces elements that are outside the compass of traditional painting in order to demystify the artistic process.
This notion of using his artistic process to question the role of the artist in society and the power of painting in contemporary culture is what makes Gambaroff an interesting artist to keep an eye on. Everything changes and so will he.
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