Trevor Nickolls Biography 2010

Born 1949, Adelaide, South Australia, Trevor Nickolls is a significant “urban” Aboriginal artist who has been working as an artist since the 1970’s. He has inspired and influenced many artists.

He is represented in collections of all of the major art museums and galleries in Australia as well as in collections in France, Germany, the Netherlands, the United States of America and Canada.

Trevor Nickolls' work is innovative and unique. His work often shows a complex iconography with many layers of meaning. A major theme in his art is “Dreamtime to Machinetime” a theme which articulates the cultural transition which many Aboriginal people have undertaken in their journey from their traditional cultural heritage of living in the Dreamtime, into the world of mechanisation and technology. Trevor Nickoll’s work often presents various interactions between these two different worlds or shows the dilemma of living within both. Subject matter includes the spirituality of the Aboriginal people and their interrelationship to land, sea, sky and cosmos; where people and elements are seen as integrated rather than separate.

Trevor has had interactions with other artists, including Aboriginal artists like Dinny Nolan and  Warmun artist Rover Thomas with whom he shared the spotlight as the two artists representing Australia at the 1990 Venice Biennale.

Education

  • 1980 Post Graduate Diploma, Painting, Victoria College of the Arts
  • 1978 Diploma, Teaching, South Australian School of Art, South Australian College of Advanced
  • 1977 Canberra College of Advanced Education
  • 1972 Studies, South Australian College of Advanced Education
  • 1970-1972 Diploma in Fine Art – Painting, South Australian School of Art

Solo Exhibitions

  • 2012 When the lost spirits meet: Trevor Nickolls – Murray Bridge Regional Gallery May 2012
  • 2009 to 2011 Other Side Art: Trevor Nickolls, a survey of paintings and drawings 1972-2007, Ian Potter Museum of Art, University of Melbourne, Victoria, touring Australia at various venues with the National Exhibition Touring Support (NETS) Victoria
  • 2010 Look both Ways: Dreamtime and Machinetime, AI ARTS - Australian and International Art, Adelaide
    2010 Self Portrait and other Spirits, AI ARTS - Australian and International Art at Kintolai Gallery, Adelaide
  • 2009 to 2011 Other Side Art: Trevor Nickolls, a survey of paintings and drawings 1972-2007, Ian Potter Museum of Art, University of Melbourne, Victoria, touring Australia at various venues with the National Exhibition Touring Support (NETS) Victoria
  • 2009 New + important early paintings & drawings, Vivien Anderson Gallery, Melbourne
  • 2006 Hogarth Gallery, Sydney
  • 2004 Vivien Anderson Gallery, Melbourne
  • 2002 Other Side Art: New Paintings from an expedition to Rover’s Country, Vivien Anderson Gallery
  • 2001 The Adventures of Wanda Wandjina, Vivien Anderson Gallery, Melbourne
  • 1994 Boomerang Gallery, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • 1991 Gabriella Pizzi Gallery, Melbourne
  • 1991 Mind Scapes Caulfield Arts Complex
  • 1990 Robert Steele Gallery, Adelaide
  • 1989 Retrospective, Trevor Nickoll 1975-1989, Deutscher Gertrude Street, Melbourne
  • 1988 Mini MOCKA Museum of Contemporary Art, Brisbane,
  • 1987 Solander Gallery, Canberra
  • 1987 Holdsworth Contemporary, Sydney
  • 1987 Bethesda Series, Aboriginal Artists Gallery, Melbourne
  • 1986 Holdsworth Contemporary, Sydney
  • 1985 Union Street Gallery, Sydney
  • 1984 Piaf Gallery, Melbourne
  • 1982 The Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin
  • 1981 Hogarth Gallery, Sydney
  • 1981 The Bitumen River Gallery, Canberra
  • 1981 The Aboriginal Artist Gallery, Sydney
  • 1980 The Arts Centre, Australian National University, Canberra
  • 1978 From Dreamtime to Machinetime, Canberra Theatre Centre Gallery, Canberra

Collections

Trevor Nickolls is represented in the collections of all of the major art museums and galleries in Australia as well as in public and private collections in France, Germany, the Netherlands, the United States of America and Canada. Representation includes art within the following collections: 

  • Australian National Gallery, Canberra
  • National Gallery of Victoria
  • Art Gallery of South Australia
  • The Art Gallery of Western Australia
  • The Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory
  • Queensland Art Gallery
  • Alice Springs Art Foundation
  • The Australian National University, Canberra
  • Flinders Art Museum and Gallery, Flinders University, South Australia
  • James Cook University Townsville Queensland
  • Canberra College of Advances Education
  • Melbourne College of Advances Education
  • NSW Institute of Technology, Sydney
  • Australian Bicentennial Authority
  • The Department of Aboriginal Affairs
  • Iwalewa Haus, Bayreuth, Germany
  • Rotterdam National Museum, Amsterdam
  • Moree Plains Art Gallery
  • Broken Hill Art Gallery

Awards

  • Canberra Civic Permanent Art Award, 1976
  • Alice Springs Acquisition Art Award, 1980
  • Jacaranda Art Society Acquisition Drawing Prize, Grafton, 1988

Grants

  • Arts SA Project grant to develop the Survey exhibition, 2007
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Board, Australia Council, Artist in Residence, Northern Territory University 2003
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Board, Australia Council, 2002
  • Aboriginal Arts Board Grant, Australia Council, 1984
  • Creative Arts Fellowship, Australian National University, 1981

Selected Group Exhibitions

  • 2012 Deadly! Between Heaven and Hell, Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute commission and exhibition, Adelaide Festival of Arts February and March 2012
  • 2011 Finalist, Western Australia Indigenous Art Award, August 2011 to February 2012
  • 2009- 2010 Clemenger Art Prize Exhibition, National Gallery of Victoria Sep 2009 to Feb 2010
  • 2009 Making Tracks: A glimpse at two decades of Aboriginal art in South Australia
  • 2007 Indigenous Responses to Colonialism Adelaide Festival Centre, Adelaide
  • 2005 Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award Exhibition, Darwin
  • 2004-5 Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award National Touring Exhibition
  • 2003 Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award Exhibition, Darwin
  • 2004 Kate Challis RAKA Award, Ian Potter Museum of Art, Melbourne University, National touring exhibition
  • 2004 Holy Holy Holy, City Gallery, Flinders University of South Australia
    2001 Masterworks, Vivien Anderson Gallery, Melbourne
  • 2001 Federation: 100 Years of Federation: Indigenous Art in the Collection of the Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth – touring exhibition
  • 2001 Dreamtime; The Dark and the Light, Sammlund Essl, Klossterneuburg, Austria
  • 2000 Transitions: 17 Years of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory and the Art Gallery of New South Wales touring exhibition
  • 1990 Tagari Lia: My Family – Contemporary Aboriginal Art from Australia, Third Eye Centre, Glasgow and regional galleries, Swansea, Sheffield UK
  • 1990 Balance 1990: Views, Visons, Influences, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane
  • 1990 Rover Thomas – Trevor Nickolls, 1990 Venice Biennale Australian Pavilion, Venice, Italy
  • 1989 A Myriad of Dreaming, Twentieth Century Aboriginal Art, Westpac Gallery, Melbourne and Design Warehouse Sydney
  • 1988 On the Edge, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth
  • 1988 A Changing Relationship: Aboriginal Themes in Australian Art
  • 1988 1938 – 1988 S.H. Ervin Gallery, Sydney
  • 1988 A new Generation 1983-1988: The Phillip Morris Arts Grant Purchase Australian National Gallery, Canberra
  • 1988 Urban Aboriginal Art: A Selective View, The Contemporary Arts Centre, Adelaide
  • 1988 First Australian Contemporary Art Fair, Melbourne
  • 1988 Australian Art Post 1960, Deutscher Gertrude Street, Melbourne
  • 1988 Creating Australian: 200 Years of Art 1788-1988 International Cultural Corporation of Australia, Touring exhibition
  • 1988 The Face of Australia, Australian Bicentennial Authority, Touring exhibition
  • 1988 Down Under America, Lake Tahoe, Nevada, USA
  • 1988 Recent Aboriginal Painting, Art Gallery of South Australia
  • 1988 Aboriginal Artists Gallery, Sydney
  • 1988 Introduction to Aboriginal Art, Moree Plains Gallery, NSW
  • 1998 The Gordon Marks Gallery, San Francisco, USA
  • 1987 Australia: Art and Aboriginality, Aspex Gallery, Portsmouth UK
  • 1986 The Dreamtime Today, Royal South Australian Society of Arts
  • 1984, Ex Patriots, Contemporary Art Centre, Adelaide
  • 1984 Koori Art 84, Artspace, Sydney
  • 1982 Morwell Aboriginal Art Gallery, Melbourne
  • 1972-1975 Realities Gallery, Melbourne
  • 1971 The Three Young Artists, Lombard Gallery, Adelaide
  • 1971 Lewellyn Gallery, Adelaide
  • 1971 The Contemporary Arts Centre Adelaide
  • 1971 The South Australian Royal Society of Arts, Adelaide

Commissions

Commissions include murals and paintings, including the following:

  • Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
  • Australian Bicentennial Authority - mural
  • NSW Institute of Technology, Sydney – painting
  • Victoria Ministry of the Arts – tram painting
  • Australian Square, Sydney – outdoor mural
  • Civic Permanent Square, Melbourne – outdoor mural
  • Adelaide Festival Centre – outdoor mural

Much has been published about Trevor Nickolls and his art in articles in magazines, in catalogues accompanying exhibitions and in books including the monogram: Beier, Ulli; Dream Time – Machine Time, Robert Brown & Associates (Aust) Pty Ltd, in association with Aboriginal Artists Agency Ltd, 1985.
The film Dreamtime Machinetime, was produced by Don Featherstone for ABC TV.

 


HOME | TREVOR NICKOLLS | PAINTINGS FROM BURMA | EAST-WEST CONVERSATIONS