Patrick Nickell





Julie Joyce
Luckman Complex
(323) 343-6608


of Events

Built for Speed A Sculpture Survey
May 24 - July 12, 2003


First survey exhibition
for the Los Angeles-based artist

The Luckman Gallery, located on the campus of California State University, Los Angeles, announces a solo survey exhibition of sculpture by artist Patrick Nickell entitled Built for Speed. Exhibition dates are May 24 - July 12, 2003. Featuring 37 sculptures made from 1986 through 2003, Built for Speed represents the first survey exhibition of works by Los Angeles-based artist, Patrick Nickell. Admission is free of charge.

Patrick Nickell's sculptures debuted in two group exhibitions in the late 1980s at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (1988) and at Otis/Parsons Gallery in Los Angeles (1989). His large-scale works constructed of plywood covered with corrugated cardboard recalled iconic minimal sculpture from the 1960s, yet simultaneously negated historical sculptural issues of gravity, weight, durability and aggrandizement. Comparing the artist to Richard Deacon, Christopher Knight noted in a review of the former exhibition in the Los Angeles Times that the work "kept reminding me of things as diverse as the Pentagon and the modern culture-palace: However cheap the materials and scruffy the fabrication, Nickell's sculptures are overproduced to such a degree that their exaggerated construction seems to be precisely what has buried their pragmatic use."

In 1990, Nickell had his first solo exhibition at the now defunct Sue Spaid Gallery in Los Angeles, Built for Speed (after which the current exhibition is titled). In the Sue Spaid Gallery exhibition, the work became smaller and more intricate, particularly those comprising thin, skeletal sections of painted cardboard strips partially wrapped in clear plastic, which became an integral medium for Nickell. These elaborate container-objects were often suspended from a high point on a wall, some with string, their parts falling down or radiating out into random patterns that cast equally mesmerizing shadows and recalling, as David Pagel suggested in a Los Angeles Times review from 1993, microorganisms or cellular structures. Nickell’s exploration of common and inexpensive materials resulted in works made from tin cans and scrap metals. Glued to sheets of metal mesh, these works took the form or stunning organic abstractions, some also embodying the playful, human qualities of much of his other work. In a 1994 review of a major solo exhibition at Kohn Turner Gallery, Carmine Iannaconne wrote in Art Issues, "other artists have made the funky and the junky into the chic and elegant, but what distinguishes Nickell is the quixotic sincerity he brings to the endeavor." The artist’s next solo exhibition in 1997 (also at Kohn Turner), reviewed in Art in America by Michael Duncan, took on a distinctively pop sensibility. Comprising large-scale, conspicuously painted works of assembled cardboard and string stuffed with bunches of newspaper, this was his most unabashedly colorful and whimsical work to-date.

Continuing to push and refine his work, Nickell's sculptures from the past 5 years include pedestal works as compelling as they are intricate. Plastic stretched between delicate strips of folded and painted cardboard link together in geometric structures that are modest in size yet signifying something much greater, such as conglomerated buildings. While his work has always possessed an architectural subtext, the recent objects bring architecture to the forefront and suggest its integral relationship to sculpture and design. Nickell’s most recent work in the exhibition brings his work full-circle--embodying the grandeur of his earliest works, the organic character of his mid-1990s work, and the architec-tural allusion of his work from the late 1990s to early 2000s--yet pushing his oeuvre, and viewers, into new dimensions.

Patrick Nickell was born in 1960 in Van Nuys, California; received his BA from Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon; and his MFA at Claremont Graduate School in Claremont, California. Besides the exhibitions already mentioned, Nickell has been included in significant group exhibitions including ReCharge: L.A. Art in the Early 90s (2001) at the Laguna Art Museum, Laguna Beach, California (the artist’s work is also in the permanent collection of this institution); Blurry Lines (2000) at the Kohler Center for the Arts in Sheboygan, Wisconsin; Love at the End of the Tunnel, or the Beginning of a Smart New Day (1998) at the Center on Contemporary Art in Seattle; Simple Means: Contemporary Sculpture from Los Angeles (1996) at the Montgomery Gallery, Pomona College, Claremont, California; among many others.

This exhibition features a 48-page, color-illustrated catalogue featuring essays by Julie Joyce, curator of the exhibition and gallery director of the Luckman Fine Arts Complex, Cal State L.A.; and Anne Ayres, curator, art historian, and director of the Ben Maltz Gallery at Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles. The exhibition will travel to the Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art, Utah State University, Logan, Utah (Aug. 30 – Dec. 4, 2004); and to the Art Gallery, University of Texas San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas (Jan. 20 – Feb. 27, 2005).

This project was made possible through a generous grant from the Pasadena Art Alliance.

General Information:
Location: The Luckman Gallery is located on the campus of Cal State L.A. at the intersection of the #10 and #710 freeways.
Parking: Pay parking for the Luckman Gallery is in Parking Structure II (permit dispenser - 50¢/hour)
Hours: Mon. – Thur. & Sat., 12 noon – 5:00 p.m. (closed Wed July 4, Independence Day)
Admission: Free of charge
Telephone: (323) 343-6610


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