Where prehistoric sloths meet Pontormo frescoes | Bleader

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Where prehistoric sloths meet Pontormo frescoes

Posted By on 03.21.12 at 02:30 PM

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Tim Nickodemus next to his paintings Charts, 2011 and Lean, 2011
  • Elly Fishman
  • Tim Nickodemus next to his paintings Charts and Lean (both 2011)
Last May, Tim Nickodemus visited the Certosa del Galluzzo, a Carthusian monastery outside Florence. While standing beneath the Jacopo da Pontormo frescoes painted on the walls of the monastery, Nickodemus was struck by the tactile qualities of the crumbling paintings. Similarly, last year he found himself in awe of the deteriorated skeleton of the Megatherium (a prehistoric elephant-sized ground sloth) at the Field Museum. These two striking and divergent images became Nickodemus's inspiration for his upcoming show at Alderman Exhibitions titled "Megatheria."

"Megatheria," which opens Saturday, March 24, is Nickodemus's attempt to capture his corporeal and cognitive reactions to the Pontormo frescoes and the Megatherium skeleton. "As a painter, I felt an affinity to the erosion of the two surfaces," he says. "My painting practice lands in an in-between place. A lot of my work has been tying together disparate sources. I like to think of the paintings as in translation." The paintings vary immensely. While some pieces are messy and haptic with thickly layered globs of paint, others are flat and more refined. Together they create a narrative, as each small canvas, based on the size of the human rib cage, represents part of Nickodemus's intimate, even isolated, interaction with the frescoes and Megatherium. "I've been thinking about why I've painted so many pieces from the same experiences," he says, "and I realized I'm trying to paint the same experience over and over. That mental space isn't locatable, so I continue to explore the experience and ask new questions about it."

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