Saturday, May 4, 2013

Sculptural Works by Jim Nickel

We recently acquired a wall-mounted sculptural piece by the artist Jim Nickel. The piece was once exhibited at the St. Louis Art Museum, then joined Genell Miller's private collection, and now awaits finding a new home.

The incised lines, in rusty red, yellow, and blue-green hues, run vertically and horizontally throughout the piece. It's signed and dated 1978, and is incised (wood routered!) and painted on its surface. It's a stunning piece, at over six feet tall, with jagged edges and a glossy surface, catching the light beautifully and casting shadows on the wall.  It's certainly a statement, and pairs wonderfully with the midcentury furniture in our shop.

Nickel is originally from Illinois, and studied art at Washington University from 1968-1970, which explains his tie to the city of St. Louis. He holds an MFA from Columbia University, and lives and works in Brooklyn today. He, like Fred Nelson (see our last blog post about his work in our shop), is represented by Atrium Gallery in St. Louis.

 Here you can make out the incised lines.

Below are several examples of other wall-mounted sculptural pieces Nickel has created over the years, all of which are composed with strips of wood side-by-side and painting atop.

New Venture Piece # 19, 2012

The Great Wave, 1982

New Venture Piece # 26, 2012

Jim Nickel is also known for his paintings, works on paper, and photographs. Below are several examples of these. Nickel's sculptural style is echoed in these as well, using geometric shapes, textural color blocking, and dynamic compositions full of movement. In some of these, the mark-making becomes even more biomorphic and curvilinear than the sculptures. Other pieces introduce stamping and text, very reminiscent of other artists working during the period such as Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg.

Lack of Ventilation, 1976, Color pencil, rubber stamp, typewriter

 from the Laticework Series, 1998, Gouache and pencil on paper

from the Fragmented Series, 2010, Gouache and pencil

Photos courtesy of Jim Nickel's website.


  1. Your Nickel piece is phenomenal. Congratulations on such a beautiful acquisition.

  2. Thank You Dana! We are really enjoying these pieces while they await new ownership!

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.