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Tomislav Nikolic

Nikolic’s capacity to finesse pigments behaviour, encouraging it, compelling it, inviting it to enter the most beautiful and at times boisterous relationships is a singular talent. He is something of a chromatic diplomat, negotiating unlikely détentes between colours all set to clash. This simplifies what is an extraordinary ability to bring about the most delicious and unpredictable unions.

Nikolic’s treatment of the frame has always been idiosyncratic. Where a painter like Howard Hodgkin took his brushstroke over the edge as if it weren’t there at all, Nikolic is acutely aware of the edge. It is at the flanks of the canvas that we can see evidence of the accumulated pigments that collectively form the substantial interior. Applied in finely mixed layers of pigment, the colour accumulates slowly and ultimately achieves the kind of density he seeks leaving the sides to reveal the systemic bleed of colour close to the space between linen and frame.

It can be the case that upon first seeing a new work of Tomislav’s there can be so much unruly behaviour both in terms of form and colour that one wonders how each of the aspects will ever get along….but they do….his paintings settle into a chromatic detente and wondrous logic of their own. Their character becomes evident with time and in this sense. Nikolic is less a painter of colour than one of temperament and psychology.