Nicole Newman: Genaivisheh Shtiklech (Tricky Pieces)

Nicole Newman, Genaivisheh Shtiklech (Tricky Pieces) - photo by Theresa HarrisonA series of sixteen exquisite small-scale sculptures made in perspex, silver and resin, which represent a culmination and refinement of the artist’s broad skill range, Linden New Art presents the exhibition, Genaivisheh Shtiklech (Tricky Pieces) by Melbourne-based artist Nicole Newman at Tasma Terrace, East Melbourne from 23 February 2018.

Linden New Art has collaborated with National Trust Australia to present this exhibition at Tasma Terrace, while their St Kilda home undergoes renovations due to be completed in mid-2018.

The works are engraved with Yiddish phrases and feature silver sculptures of insects, fish and flora. They contain repurposed and sculpted silverware with resin casts of the artist’s fingers. The Yiddish phrases are rich in metaphor and often dark in humour.

“These latest sculptures are a nod to ‘objects of virtue’ – small precious items in decorative boxes,” says artist Nicole Newman. “There is a twist here in that they appear, at first glance, to be typical representations of objects but on further inspection there are oddities, strange combinations and text which sometimes bear no relation to the object, but can be viewed as an integral element of the design.”

The Yiddish language, a blend of Hebrew and German, originated in Eastern Europe and is an important part of Newman’s practice, personal history and cultural background. Since 1999, all of Newman’s solo exhibitions have born Yiddish titles.

To the artist, Yiddish holds a sense of nostalgia as it was the language that was spoken in her family home as she was growing up. It serves as a reference to her own history without being too personal. Untitled 11 carries the phrase A sach mentshen zehen, nor vainik fun zai farshtaien meaning (many people see, but only a few understand).

“This is a particularly apt description of Newman’s enigmatic new work,” says Curator Juliette Hanson. “As a comment on the nature of human knowledge, this phrase points to the limitations of what vision can bestow. Newman’s works give priority to the cerebral, to imagination and to creativity in further knowing oneself and in understanding the world around us.”

Nicole Newman is a French born, Melbourne based artist who has completed studies at the Victorian College of the Arts and the San Francisco Art Institute. Newman has exhibited extensively in Australia including solo exhibitions Vitz at Gallery 101; Kitsch to Yiddish: 1998-2001 at The Essoign Club, Owen Dixon Chambers, Melbourne; and Tsigeshtikevet at the Jewish Museum of Australia.

Her work has also featured in group exhibitions such as Works on Paper, Jewish Museum of Australia; Dame Edna Regrets She is Unable to Attend: Humour and Satire in contemporary sculpture, Heide Museum of Art touring exhibition; and Bad Mothers, Tin Sheds Gallery, Sydney.

Her work is represented in the collections of Swan Hill Regional Gallery, National Gallery of Australia, Emanuel Hirsh Private Collection, Avant, State Bank Centre, Adelaide, and numerous private collections.

Nicole Newman: Genaivisheh Shtiklech (Tricky Pieces)
Tasma Terrace, 6 Parliament Place, East Melbourne
Exhibition: 23 February – 9 March 2018

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Image: Nicole Newman, Genaivisheh Shtiklech (Tricky Pieces) presented by Linden New Art at the National Trust of Australia (Victoria), Tasma Terrace, Melbourne [installation view]. Image courtesy of the artist – photo by Theresa Harrison.