"The artist is an inventor of places. He shapes and incarnates spaces which had been hitherto impossible, unthinkable…" - Georges Didi-Huberman
Drawing on the breadth of philosophical language surrounding architecture in what can be considered our current “panoptic” era--from penitentiaries to once-imagined Modernist, utopian corporate or urban landscapes--Nick Naber’s work envisions unimaginable, heterotopic environments rendered in watercolor and pencil. Recurring and repeating abstract and geometric forms, divorced from their contexts and functions, are recomposed through relationships of pattern, perspective, scale, and color to conjure likenesses of unreadable maps, city plans, and civic spaces, exposing the hierarchy of structures which intersect and organize imagined space in an age of alienation.
Naber’s vision is concerned with the means through which architecture can address the body in ways that regulate social and psychological inclusion, exclusion, and observation and that expose systems of visual control. He draws on a history of architectural representations as, on one hand, tools of power and, on the other, as models for utopia, through an investigation of imagined environments informed by comprehensive investigations of art and philosophy.
The base structure of Naber’s drawings can be understood as modular. Each module, which alludes to a structure, repeats to create patterns while breaks in the repetition and in perspective of the modules create disorientation, instability, and unease. Through the creation of impossible perspectives alongside the reduction of scale in his imagined cityscapes, he critiques the power of architectural design and the often latent, unconscious effects on those who encounter it. Having become accustomed to the sights of skyscrapers, and the layouts of densely constructed cities, it is often difficult to recognize them immediately as symbols of power and control or even metaphors for unshakeable faith in progress, something these drawings expose. Additionally, Naber’s use of often saturated and heterogeneous color creates a substantial juxtaposition between the hard-edge of his modular structures and the soft, fluidity of the medium of watercolor, causing further dislocation.
Naber received his MFA in painting and drawing from Pratt Institute (2012) and his BFA from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (2010). He has had two solo exhibitions at OPUS Projects in Chelsea after earning his graduate degree along with group exhibitions nationally. Naber has been interviewed about his practice most recently by Haley Finnegan as part of her exhibition Home Economics at Penn State (2017) and his work has also been featured on the Studio Break Podcast (2015) and has been published in Alt/Process (2015), GRAPHITE Journal (2012). He is the Co-Founder/East Coast Editor and Contributor at The Coastal Post. He lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
The Java Project
252 Java St #100
Brooklyn, NY 11222
ph: 917 773 8248
e: firstname.lastname@example.org | thejavaproj.com
Open by appointment