I want you to be seduced visually by the colours and the succulence of the paint. I want to trick the viewer into engaging with the work; seducing stealthily and only then pulling the spectator up short with the power of the work's psychological impact. I always paint over-scaled kids: thus their huge scale forces the viewer to confront the image. There is no way to avoid the models' gaze; plus the space created by the coloured grounds is so expansive that the onlooker is forced to enter into the picture.
NICKY HOBERMAN IN CONVERSATION WITH GIANNI ROMANO
from Nicky Hoberman, 2002 by Gabrius publishers, Milan
During the mid 1990s advertising magnate and contemporary art collector Charles Saatchi announced the new wave in contemporary art with an exhibition and publication entitled The New Neurotic Realists. This new school signalled the return to traditional materials and created a context for contemporary figurative painters; namely Marlene Dumas, Peter Doig and Nicky Hoberman. Nicky Hoberman (b.1967 South Africa) is one of the strongest practitioners of her generation and Gow Langsford Gallery is privileged to present her inaugural exhibition in New Zealand. Titled simply: NICKY HOBERMAN, the exhibition features a selection of personal works from Hoberman’s ‘girls’ series.
An early itinerant lifestyle influenced the development of Nicky Hoberman’s aesthetic. Hoberman was schooled in South Africa, Oxford, Boston, New York and Paris, and completed her MA at the Chelsea College of Art and Design, London. Hoberman began the ‘Girls’ series in 1996. Throughout the series Hoberman expresses an uncanny mix of awareness and innocence. Her cinematic paintings depict disconnected groups of children as a means to explore the concepts of displacement, isolation, and identity in an uncertain landscape. Each figure, though sharing the same canvas and literal landscape, seems unable to inhabit the same emotional space. Self-possessed little girls look straight through us, staring out from the canvas with an all-knowing and ironic gaze. The colours of the canvases vary between saccharine and cool, and the cats that float throughout many of the works both feminine accoutrements and menacing playmates. Using photography as her source and the computer monitor as her palette, colours are enhanced or subdued and forms playfully arranged on a flat surface. Hoberman’s style is distinguished by contrasting sfumato and impasto paint-handling; combining an air-brush realism with expressionist gesture.
Nicky Hoberman has exhibited in numerous galleries and museums worldwide. Recent exhibitions include: Hof and Huyser, Amsterdam, Holland, 2008; Offspring: Representations of Children in Contemporary Visual Culture, Boston University Art Gallery, Boston, 2006; Dead Bird Show, Whitechapel Project Space, London, 2003; Strangely Familiar, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, England, (touring exhibition), 1997; New Contemporaries 96, Tate, Liverpool and Camden Arts Centre, London, 1996. Her work is represented in major international collections including: the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; The Berado Collection, Museum of Modern Art, Sintra; Magasin 3 Stockholm; The Walsall Museum and Art Gallery, Walsall; Tokushima Modern Art Museum, Osaka; Saatchi Collection, London; Nigel Moore’s Charitable Foundation, Liverpool and The Kent Logan Collection, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA.