John Nixon is Australia’s most influential conceptual artist, exhibiting nationally and internationally since the mid-1970s. Nixon attended the National Gallery of Victoria Art School in Melbourne (1969-1970), establishing a reputation for his minimalist abstract paintings from the early 1970s.
His interest resides in geometric abstraction’s origins in the work of Malevich and Russian Constructivism and its belief in art’s potential for spiritual revelation and social change. Nixon critiques such utopian ambitions through a commitment to the iconography of the circle, square and cross, rendering the repetition of these signs and symbols powerless. Indeed, he has personalised abstraction to his own ends, acknowledging the arbitrary nature of the meaning of art’s signs and symbols.
After more than 35 years, Nixon’s contribution to Australian art resides in his important contribution to conceptual practice and representation of contemporary Australian art in Europe and America. Work is held in the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne.