Nicolas Party’s “Cascade” of Color on the Edge of Time

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Xavier Hufkens, Brussels // January 27, 2023 – March 04, 2023

Pastels and portals. Color and cosmic waves. It’s 2023 and I think Nicolas Party is a bit of a time-traveler. Spirituality in his works, which seem to be be in ode to a religious set of classic art rules but made entirely his own, seems to have a conversation of what religion would be in the future. In Cascade, his new solo show at Xavier Hufkens in Brussels, the colors, shapes, objects, paintings, all look like future relics. And a performance when all put together. “I make work in the studio. I see the gallery as the stage, and for me, it is kind of difficult to just get on a raw stage,” Party said to us in 2021. “I want to make modifications to welcome the paintings, so, in effect, they can act in a better way. If they go to another destination, that’s up to that person because they can function by themselves.”

As the gallery notes, “If Party’s large pastel triptychs mirror the scale of historical altarpieces, then his oil-on-copper cabinets are analogous to the small portable paintings, or icons, that were traditionally made for private worship. He also reproduces the grisaille paintings that often adorn the reverse of these ancient artefacts.” In all his imagery, the pastels and the large totem like heads and the choice of mural colors on the walls to the arches on the doorways, Party is creating portals for us to walk through the edges of time, backwards and forwards. There is no present, just a transformation. Moths and waterfalls in the works reflect that transformation, and Party is painting where time cannot go. —Evan Pricco

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