Christie Contemporary is pleased to present Two Bouquets, a solo exhibition of new paintings by Nick Ostoff, opening Friday, September 6 from 6-8pm. 

Nick Ostoff’s ongoing exploration of quotidian space — where the overlooked contours of everyday surroundings are accorded an ambiguous bearing through particular painterly process — returns us to the site of the interior, domestic sphere with the exhibition, Two Bouquets. Focusing on the transformative qualities of memory and absence — deepened by recent personal loss — Ostoff surrenders precision to a kind of phenomenological intensity, capturing the conditions under which the subject was originally viewed, and viewed again in his anecdotal photographs, which become the reference points for the paintings. As Ostoff writes: 

“All of these works are based on my own anecdotal source photographs of one of two floral bouquets, both of which were arranged by my mother, and set against the same window in her living room over different seasons over the past year. Much of my interest in this imagery lies in the specific conditions under which I generated the source photographs. One was documented at midnight with the aid of a flash, and the other, at noon on a bright sunny day; i.e., one is harshly overexposed, with heightened contrast, and the other is cast as a silhouette, in which certain details are barely discernible. Both of these effects are considered to be flaws in commonplace photographic practice. But it is these very flaws that I aim to foreground - particularly through the translation of photography into painting - as a means of confusing the diurnal with the nocturnal, and to defamiliarize the otherwise quotidian nature of this tableau. This is further accentuated by my particular approach to facture, in which each painting is deliberately built up through layers of translucent pigment, and by my iterative, serial methodology, which allows me to explore a wide array of nuances related to light, shadow and atmospherics.

Yet there is an additional, parallel content to these paintings, unexpectedly generated from the circumstances in which I completed them, and resonant in the bouquet motif itself. This content is uncharacteristically personal in nature. I initially started this series last winter, but I only returned to it over the past summer, after I learned about the untimely passing of Katharine Mulherin, my former gallerist and long-time friend, and the impending passing of my father (who, at the time of this writing, has now passed). As such, these paintings now function for me as elegies. They are wistful tributes to two lives lived, offering a modest reflection on mortality, loss, and the transience of time.

This exhibition is dedicated to Katharine Mulherin, and to my father, Albert Ostoff.”

The artist would like to gratefully acknowledge support from the Ontario Council of Arts and the Canada Council for the Arts.