Nikolas Gambaroff is a really interesting painter. His approach is very conceptual, cross media, while still producing objects very recognizable as paintings. His show at Overduin and Kite unfolds like a riddle, and part of the pleasure is trying to fit the pieces together. The show, “Tools for Living” features his characteristic paintings, made by layering newspapers, applying paint in a regular, cursive script (a kind of wave pattern), and tearing off the top layers, so that the layers of newspaper collage together into a complicated image. On each surface you can see the traces of Gambaroff’s mark, the layers of newsprint, and certain subtle touches of color, from advertisements or other flyers attached to the surface.
- Nikolas Gambaroff, “Untitled,” 2012
Newsprint and acrylic on aluminum composite board
96 x 48 inches.
His work does not purely exist with the frame of the painting, however. The whole gallery is an installation. There is a plywood wall constructed in the center of one of the galleries, with the person-sized letters “UNEDIT” cut out of it. Paintings are hung on this wall as well, creating another layered experience.
- Ei Arakawa and Nikolas Gambaroff at Meyer Kainer, “The Bodycard Testimonials,” installation view, May 2012.
Gambaroff uses collaboration as a primary means to complicate painting, implicating it in performance, sculpture, and commodities. In this instance, he has left one of the gallery walls as it was prepared for the last exhibition, for Ei Arakawa, one of Gambaroff’s frequent collaborators. So this show is kind of like a collaboration with the remnants of Arakawa’s show (for photos of the Arakawa show “I Am An Employee of United”, see the gallery website).
- Ei Arakawa, “I Am An Employee of United, Vol. 2” at Overduin and Kite, September 2012. Photo by Kelly Akashi.
I think this is a really interesting show to see, particularly if you’re interested in working with performance, installation, or conceptual art as a means of working in painting. Check out the photos from Arakawa’s performance before you go, it may save you many minutes of puzzlement.