Jonny Niesche’s expansive exploration of painting, sculpture, and abstraction envelops the viewer in a rich sensory experience. His vibrant paintings feature seductive, iridescent surfaces that seem to hover above the voile canvas. Niesche’s longstanding focus on the interplay of color, form, and light yields optically charged works that challenge spatial perception. The transformative beauty of his paintings is accentuated by reflective gold and silver rims that invite viewers into a surprising encounter with the artwork.

The Ripening (Medium Study), 2022 | Acrylic mirror, voile, MDF | 101 x 101 x 9 cm

Jonny Niesche

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For his exhibition Electric Light Orchestra, Niesche draws inspiration from nights spent in the countryside, the activity of moths around the moon, and electric lights on verandas. After his experiences and fascinations in the Australian outback, the artist began his research into moths from around the world, which influenced his palette for this show, weaving together an interplay of light and color, art and nature. All while successfully connecting with his main artistic inspiration: music, which led him to begin his career as a visual artist.

Rooted in the vibrant electronic music scene of New York City in the 1990s, Niesche’s art evolution is deeply influenced by his collaborations with musicians from that time, absorbing a variety of musical influences from the hardcore and psychedelia to the theatrical glam rock of the 1980s, reminiscent of icons like David Bowie and Deborah Harry. His work forms a unique visual language that interconnects this diverse musical heritage with his own experiences in the music scene, and a fascination for the dance of moths towards light, thus creating a visual Electric Light Orchestra.

Graellsia Isabellae (Avon Dreaming), 2022 | Voile, aluminium, brass, wood | 176,4 x 176,4 x 3,6 cm

Jonny Niesche

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Niesche’s art seamlessly blends music, fashion, and color. His works often feature homages to cultural icons: for example, his 2017 exhibition Cracked Actor is named after a David Bowie song, while his 2018 exhibition Throb used titles and parts of song lyrics from Iggy Pop’s album The Passenger. A standout piece, Virgil Vigil, pays tribute to the late fashion legend Virgil Abloh, cleverly blending color and style.

The artist also references Bowie’s iconic lightning bolt makeup, using it as a gradient in a triptych paravent while channeling Harry’s vibrant eye makeup into striking abstract compositions. These elements, combined with the shimmer of glam rock, seen through the use of reflective materials and glossy frames, create a mesmerizing allure in his creations.

Virgil Vigil (Medium Study), 2022 | Acrylic mirror, voile, MDF | 101 x 101 x 9 cm

Jonny Niesche

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Swamp Moon Romance, 2022 | 141 x 101 x 9 cm | Acrylic mirror, voile, MDF

Jonny Niesche

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Jonny Niesche’s connection to nature, the unique inspiration for this exhibition, fluidly mixes with music and color. In pieces like Swamp Moon Romance, he captures the mysterious allure of the Australian night sky. Utilizing a color palette of black, yellow, and white, he invokes the moon’s enigmatic, melancholic glow. He also draws from the colors of celestial phenomena like the blood moon and the hues of various moths from around the world, such as the green and pink of the Spanish Graellsia Isabellae.

Strawberry Emerald in Gold (study), 2023 | Voile, acrylic mirror and PDF | 70 x 70 x 9 cm

Jonny Niesche

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Lemon Verbena (study), 2023 | Voile, acrylic mirror and PDF | 70 x 70 x 9 cm

Jonny Niesche

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Blood Moon Romance, 2022 | Acrylic mirror, voile, MDF | 141 x 101 x 9 cm

Jonny Niesche

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To achieve a play of color and reflection while addressing a variety of themes, Niesche uses colored transparent voile fabrics, often backed by mirrors. In some works, he layers multiple fabrics without mirrors, creating a see-through effect. The artworks’ shiny gold and silver frames further reflect light, ensuring that both the viewer and the surrounding space are integral to the perception of the piece. This interaction with space in the perception of color and light is a significant concept of the 1960s Light and Space movement, championed by artists like James Turrell, Robert Irwin, and later, Brigitte Kowanz, all of whom have significantly influenced Niesche.

Virgil Vigil (Mini hologram study), 2023 | Voile, acrylic mirror and MDF | 30 x 30 x 7 cm

Jonny Niesche

Blood Moon Altar (Mini hologram study), 2023 | Voile, acrylic mirror and MDF | 30 x 30 x 7 cm

Jonny Niesche

Giant Sapphire Wingspan (Mini hologram study), 2023 | Voile, acrylic mirror and MDF | 30 x 30 x 7 cm

Jonny Niesche

Greasella Isabellae (Avon Dreaming) (Mini hologram study), 2023 | Voile, acrylic mirror and MDF | 30 x 30 x 7 cm

Jonny Niesche

The scale of Niesche’s works is also crucial in defining the viewer’s experience. His expansive installations contrast sharply with his more personal, smaller pieces, each offering a unique vantage point. This variation invites the audience to explore the art from different perspectives, considering the impact of size on their engagement and interpretation.

Blood Moon Altar (Medium Study), 2022 | Acrylic mirror, voile, MDF | 101 x 101 x 9 cm

Jonny Niesche

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Jonny Niesche’s Electric Light Orchestra is a compelling exhibition that seamlessly blends the overarching energy of New York’s 1990s music scene with the tranquil beauty of Australian landscapes. Central to this showcase is Niesche’s adept use of light and color, creating an immersive journey that reflects his artistic evolution. The result is a cohesive and yet diverse, visually striking set of narratives that captures the essence of Niesche’s journey in the arts. As viewers witness the pulsating colors in Niesche’s creations, it is as though they are experiencing a visual symphony, akin to the harmonious vibrations of his Electric Light Orchestra.

About the artist

Jonny Niesche lives and works in Sydney; his work has been exhibited extensively at galleries throughout Australia and further afield, including: Fundación La Nave Salinas, Ibiza, ES (2023), WestLotto, Münster, DE (2022); 1301PE, Los Angeles (2021); The Hole, New York (2021); Galerie Ron Mandos, Amsterdam (2021); Starkwhite, Auckland (2020); Station Gallery, Melbourne (2020), Zeller van Almsick, Vienna (2020); Sarah Cottier Gallery, Sydney (2019); LUNDGREN Gallery, Palme De Mallorca, Spain (2019) and Peter Von Kant, London (2017). His work has also been included in notable exhibition in a number of Australian institutions, including: Gallery of Modern Art, Queensland (2023), Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney (2019); Casula Powerhouse, Sydney (2019); Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide (2019); ArtSpace, Sydney (2017); National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (2016) and Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne (2016).

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ABOUT Jonny Niesche

Jonny Niesche, born in 1972 in Australia, is a contemporary artist known for his vibrant abstractions that blend painting and sculpture. His unique art style involves using paint and reflective materials like glitter, mirrors, and translucent fabrics. Niesche’s pieces are dynamic, changing in appearance with the viewer’s position, challenging the concept of static art objects. He earned his Bachelor of Visual Arts in 2007 and Master of Fine Arts in 2013 from the University of Sydney.

Niesche’s work is heavily influenced by the teachings of Austrian artist Heimo Zobernig and the performative aspect of painting. His artworks, which can be wall-mounted or suspended, often display a geometric plane with a gradient of colors. His influences range from German artist Isa Genzken, color-field painters Barnett Newman and Mark Rothko, and Minimalist artists Donald Judd and John McCracken, to the light and colors of Californian and Australian landscapes.

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