An induction into the sublime
AN INDUCTION INTO THE SUBLIME
The noise in your head. The fog, the haze, the incessant updates and ruptured moments. If you can’t find a way to let all these slip-slide away, step into the world of visual artist Jonny Niesche. Or for that matter, a room full of Jonny’s pure, raw, sublime explorations of colour and sound (which, for this writer, was fortunately possible at his recent solo show Fairlight at Sarah Cottier Gallery in Sydney). “I want to provide a space where you can shut down the noise and have space to think. Cut out everything and disappear into something.”
“I want to provide a space where you can shut down the noise and have space to think. Cut out everything and disappear into something.”
Washes of pinks and blues are printed on material and stretched across gold mirrored frames next to purples and oranges. It’s a pulsation of mood and feeling that melts stress away and transports the viewer to wherever and whatever they want (there are no rules here). Named after the iconic Fairlight CMI synthesizer invented in Australia in 1979, the show demonstrates just how significant a role music plays in this body of vibrating work and how deep it lies within the DNA of Niesche’s artistic development and practice.
A period of casual exploration in New York in the 1990s eventually became a decade-long tenure for Niesche, who found himself lured into playing in the hardcore music scene and seduced by the wildness the city had to offer. Living in the East Village during one of New York’s most vibrant eras, Niesche’s focus was music, however, he did find himself spending a lot of time wandering around the Chelsea galleries. Bruce Nauman, James Tyrell and Robert Irwin are listed as some of the great American visual art influences, along with musician Iggy Pop, whose Bowie-produced album Lust For Life played in Niesche’s studio whilst he worked on a past show. However, it was family and his own lust for a career beyond music that eventually brought Niesche back home to Sydney, where his visual arts journey began.
“Visually Australia is so juicy and diverse with its vast landscapes. I’m excited by the idea of the sublime and the sunsets.” He recalls memories of his early years in Bondi when he would watch the easterly sunsets on the beach with family. “As the sun set with these soft pinks and lilacs to blue, they really affected me and the way that I think about colour and dusk.”
“Visually Australia is so juicy and diverse with its vast landscapes. I’m excited by the idea of the sublime and the sunsets.”
From spray-painting colour blocks on an old family home sale sign to photorealism (too tight of an aesthetic), to dabbling in painting with syringes in an attempt to loosen up his expression, Niesche has tried it all, true to his intuitive approach to communicating a feeling. Much like free jazz, he finds himself “dancing around and looking for patterns within colours and sound. It’s an enjoyable hunt. You know it when you get there but you don’t know what you’re looking for at the time.”