Through a unique painting process, Nicolas Holiber allows his unconscious mind to dominate the initial stage of his art making.
In a moment that borders on the sculptural, he pushes and pulls the heavy acrylic paint across the canvas. In doing so, Holiber embraces the ambivalence of his actions. His intuitive approach evokes a sense of uncertainty to provoke a sense of uncertainty, one in which the artist is constantly at odds with himself.
For the past year, people across the globe have been experiencing life as they never have before.
For so many of us, the pandemic has put a stop to the normality of daily existence and it may seem hard to imagine returning to a “pre-Covid” world. In the United States, the coronavirus has exacerbated the effects of the country’s own internal conflicts and historical disparities. The world watched as Americans marched in protest against the systemic injustices of their country and we witnessed how a nation can become consumed by a rhetoric that promotes divisiveness and animosity towards others.
For Brooklyn-based artist Nicolas Holiber, lockdown during the early days of coronavirus was a time for deep self-reflection, triggering a shift in the content of his work.
In response to the times, he began to focus on themes of conflict and tragedy with an aim to explore human behaviour. His work is not necessarily a comment on these issues, but is more of an exposé. Holiber’s paintings are able to capture all of the stresses, anxieties and uncertainties we may be feeling at this very moment.
Shake it Off
Fight or Flight
Study for Endless Parade
During the final stage of his process, Holiber is forced to reconcile with his actions as he looks to decipher what lies before him.
Through the use of fleshy, visceral oil paint, he is able to build upon this surface to form a cohesive, albeit mangled, image of human interaction. The abject figures that inhabit Holiber’s paintings carry with them a sense of violence and the grotesque that may seem all too real today.
However, the candy-coloured palette and rich flesh tones only draw the viewer closer; his works are like a train wreck you cannot stop looking at. Whatever you take away from these artworks, there is no doubt that they will serve as reminders of a most unflattering and unforgettable time.
Nicolas Holiber (b. 1985, New York) grew up in an artistic family and has been making pictures and objects since he was a child.
Past awards and honours include public commissions for the Southern Branch of the National Palace Museum in Taiwan, NYC Parks Department, residencies at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and Leipzig International Art Programme among others. Holiber has exhibited work in USA as well as Europe.
Through visual arts and entrepreneurship programs, Artistic Noise’s participants give voice to their experiences, build community through collaborative projects, and learn valuable life and job skills. Artistic Noise creates safe spaces where court-involved youth can be seen, heard, and supported on their path to adulthood. They believe the practice of making art offers opportunities for young people and communities to transform.
Nicolas Holiber is a Brooklyn-based artist known for his mixed media paintings and large-scale sculptures.
Nicolas Holiber’s first solo exhibition with Unit London explores physicality in form, subject and medium.