Tucker Nichols, ‘Flower Paintings’

Tucker Nichols is multitalented. He draws, paints, sculpts, has collaborated on two children’s books and also writes quite well. Perhaps consistent with this, his previous shows at ZieherSmith have exuded talent but in a scattered, busy way. “Flower Paintings,” his fifth solo here, announces with its very title that the artist has concentrated on one subject and one medium.

Rendered in enamel on wood panel, these hardy works are essentially abstract,itinerant paintings that vibrate with energy. Their simple shapes and rudimentary drawing recall images of the American limners who roamed colonial and postcolonial New England painting portraits of families and decorating their walls with murals. But the works’ flattened space, dense tactile surfaces, random drips and sharp, solid colors are very much of the moment, as is their boisterous scale. They self-identify as new.

Part of the modernity and joy of Mr. Nichols’s paintings is the suggestion that all the elements in a composition are autonomous. The spherical flowers could easily bounce away; the bladelike leaves could launch themselves in one direction or another. The pictures are all temporary arrangements that will scatter as soon as you look away. That they seem eager to do so is part of their strength.

516 West 20th Street, Chelsea
Through July 1

Studio visit from Gallery 16

New commission for In Situ, Chef Corey Lee's restaurant at the new SFMOMA

Tucker Nichols
Specials, 2016
Fifty framed works on paper
Commissioned by SFMOMA; courtesy the artist and Gallery 16, San Francisco

Through a group of lyrical, graphically-engaging gouache paintings on paper installed in various places within In Situ, Bay Area artist Tucker Nichols considers the visual character of contemporary food. “What is food today? What does it look like, and why do we take so many photographs of it?” he asks. “I think of Specials as a wall of trophies celebrating the creative achievements of the world’s best chefs from a decidedly outside perspective.”  Like the abstract art that appears in many of SFMOMA’s galleries, food, too, can be a universal language all of its own.


Upcoming talk at SFMOMA about a thing.
Thursday, June 9 at 6PM

Tucker Nichols
Flower Paintings
New York, NY
June 3 - July 1, 2016
Opening Friday June 3, 6-8PM

Installation of Op-Ed drawings from The New York Times from 2005-2015 at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts for Take This Hammer, an exhibition of Bay Area political art.

Drawing for a recent New York Times article about the discovery of the largest known prime number.

Interview with Debbie Millman on her excellent Design Matters podcast:
On this episode Debbie talks to artist Tucker Nichols about his art, and the quality of the art he loves. “What I care about is that there was something that was driving them, that they couldn’t have not done this if they wanted to. It had to happen.”

After being out of print for several months, Crabtree is back in bookstores everywhere. Foreign editions in French, Italian, German and Polish are all underway or available in respective territories, too.

New WHAT NOT TO TALK ABOUT napkins to help with your upcoming holiday meals. Learn more and order at The Thing Quarterly.


New Book

This Bridge Will Not Be Gray, By Dave Eggers and Tucker Nichols
Published by McSweeney's, available now
More info here

Drawing for the New York Times opinion page to go with an essay paying homage to great teachers while dismissing the notion of a unified theory of everything.