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In Black and White

Graham Nickson

September 7 – October 15, 2022

Graham Nickson, Figure with Lifeguard Chair, 1984-1994
The view is the side of a house. One can see a short set of stairs and in the background there is a woman holding a beach board vertically as she makes adjustments to it.
Turtle: Bathers: Orange Chevron, 2002/2022, Acrylic on primed linen
A long, narrow drawing with jagged edges. In the front center there is a man dying off with a towel covering his face.
Three figures after a swim dying off with towels in front of a cabin like structure.

Press Release

Betty Cuningham Gallery is pleased to open In Black and White, an exhibition of paintings and works on paper by Graham Nickson, on September 7th. This will be the artist’s fourth exhibition with the Gallery. A reception for the artist will be held at the Gallery on September 7th, 6 – 8pm. 


The current exhibition is a departure for Graham Nickson, as it features black and white paintings and drawings. The show includes five canvases and seven charcoal works on paper. Nickson, who has shown in New York since the mid-1970s, is particularly identified by his strong geometric compositions and saturated color. In the absence of color, it becomes clear to Nickson that the disciplines of painting and drawing are equal. Nickson’s drawings are large, measuring up to 105 inches, and hang alongside paintings of the same scale, further blurring the distinction between painting and drawing. Moreover, the heavy contrasts between light and dark, emphasize Nickson’s taut composition and imply the artist’s characteristic bold colors. Nickson claims: “The implications of color that in many cases is given off by black and white and grey may be translated into the most outrageous or radical of color experiences by following through on the implications of the color in the drawings. I like to think I am drawing in color.”

Nickson was born in Lancashire, England, and completed his studies at Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts (BA) and the Royal College of Art in London (MA) in 1972. Nickson has been the recipient of the Prix de Rome (1972-74), the Harkness Fellowship at Yale University (1976-78), the Guggenheim Fellowship (1989), and the Ingram Merrill Fellowship (1993). Solo exhibitions include Graham Nickson: Private Myths at the Naples Museum of Art, FL (2007), Graham Nickson: Works from Private Collections at the Boca Raton Museum of Art, FL (2006), and Meeting and Passing at the Lillehammer Art Museum in Norway (2007). His work can be seen in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; the Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; The Morgan Library and Museum, New York, NY, National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.; Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University, Boston, MA; Buffalo AKG Art Museum, Buffalo, NY; the Frye Art Museum, Seattle, WA; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT; and the Lillehammer Kunstmuseum, Lillehammer, Norway among others. He has been a faculty member and Dean of the New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting and Sculpture since 1988. The artist currently lives and works in New York City.


The exhibition will remain on view through October 15, 2022.