synthetic polymer paint on canvas
80.0 x 54.5 cm
Estimate Upon Request
Queensland College of Art, Qld
Private Collection, Qld
Queensland College of Art, Qld, Gondola Dreaming, 1990
A solid grounding in the theory of Western art put Trevor Nickolls in a unique position when, towards the end of his post-graduate degree, he had a chance encounter with Papunya artist Dinny Nolan. The meeting left him feeling that it could be possible to synthesise an art style from techniques gleaned from both traditional Aboriginal and western culture. His appointment as an education officer the following year allowed Nickolls to travel, meeting artists and elders throughout Arnhem Land and seeing traditional rock paintings in situ.
A new mood permeated his work of this period. Cramped urban complexities gave way to an elemental landscape where figures, trees, animals and waterholes were held in a direct frontal foreground, confronting and engaging the viewer with a powerful sense of mythic relatedness. Tightly patterned dots radiated a vibrant life force, harmonising the background in a unique rendition of an Australianised Garden of Eden.
This work was painted immediately after his return from representing Australia at the 1990 Venice Biennale.